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Tier 4 General Student Visa Refused – How to Challenge Decision Through Administrative Review?

May 28, 2018
Last Updated on May 22, 2024

Tier 4 General Student Visa refusals have become increasingly common since 2015. The news can be devastating. You have chosen your course of study. You have read all about student life in the UK. You’re excited and apprehensive at the same time. Then suddenly you receive a refusal on your Tier 4 (General) Student Visa application. International students are starting to rumble about “harsh and unjustifiable” refusals by immigration officials of student visa applications.

Prime Minister Theresa May’s refuses to act to stop drastic fall in a number of international students, who mostly leave the country after their course is completed, from immigration figures has infuriated many foreign governments (not to mention UK employers), especially India. When Mrs May attended the India-UK Tech Summit last November she was informed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s, “Education is vital for our students and will define our engagement in a shared future. We must, therefore, encourage greater mobility and participation of young people in education and research opportunities”.

Mr Modi, who leads one of the largest and fastest growing economies in the world, has made it clear to Mrs May that any future post-Brexit deal between India and the UK will need to include a loosening up of immigration rules relating to Indian nationals, and this includes students.

The UK government has listened to this ultimatum. In January 2018, new rules made it possible for international students to switch over to Tier-2 visa (or skilled worker visa) as soon as they complete their course rather than wait until they had their degree. This change gives students more time to find sponsored employment after their course has ended.

Despite these positive changes and political pressure from foreign governments, many student visas are still refused.

If your Tier 4 (General) Student Visa application is denied, you can apply for an Administrative Review.

What is Administrative Review and How Does it help with a Student Visa Refusal?

Administrative review is the process by which those applying for entry clearance can challenge an eligible refusal decision on the basis that the decision is incorrect due to a case working error. You can make an application for Administrative Review either from inside the UK (if you are switching to a Tier 4 Student Visa), or out-of-country.

How do I apply for an Administrative Review?

If UKVI issues a refusal to grant your Tier 4 Student Visa, it must issue a written notice concerning your eligibility for Administrative Review. The notice must include or be accompanied by a statement of the reasons for refusal. Instructions regarding how to apply for Administrative Review and the time limits for making an application will be provided by UKVI.

If you are outside the UK and wish to apply for an Administrative Review of a UKVI decision, you will have 28 days to make the application. If you are applying in the UK, you have 14 days. These timelines are strictly adhered to so ensure you take them seriously. An application for Administrative Review may be accepted outside of the relevant time limit if UKVI is satisfied that it would be unjust not to waive the time limit and the application was made as soon as reasonably practicable. However, UKVI will not waive the time limit if there is no compelling reason why it was not possible to make an on-time application.

When applying for the Administrative Review, you must:

  • enter the reasons for refusal that are in your decision letter, and say why you think a mistake was made
  • send your completed form in the method the application refusal letter suggests (by email, post or in person)

What are Some Examples of Caseworker Errors on a Tier 4 (General) Student Visa Application?

Examples of immigration caseworker errors which may be challenged by an Administrative Review include:

  • not tallying up the number of eligible points correctly
  • failing to apply immigration law and guidance correctly to your application
  • not taking the evidence contained in supporting documentation into account

What are the Outcomes of an Administrative Review?

There are four possible outcomes to an application for AR as stated in the Immigration Rules, Appendix AR, para AR2.2; the Administrative Review either:

  • Succeeds and the original decision is withdrawn, or;
  • The original decision is upheld for the same reasons, or;
  • The original decision is upheld for different reasons.

Is it Important to Seek Legal Advice on the Administrative Review Process?

Administrative Review applications can be complex and it often takes an experienced immigration lawyer to articulate to UKVI exactly what part of the decision needs to be reviewed. By investing in legal advice, your chances of success are increased. Remember, the culture of UKVI is to find a reason to refuse entry, rather than grant it.

In addition, an immigration lawyer can assist if your Administrative Review application fails. In such circumstances, there is often no right of appeal unless there are human rights grounds. Therefore, you may need to make an application for Judicial Review. This is a complicated process which requires the advice and representation of an immigration lawyer.

Client says, “Student Visa Entry Clearance

My application for Tier-4 Entry Clearance was refused. The caseworker counted ‘suspended sentence’ as a form of imprisonment and said my future application will be refused for ten more years. 

Senior Immigration Solicitor of A Y & J Solicitors submitted the Administrative Review to UKBA and proved the decision to be incorrect.

Senior Immigration Solicitor of A Y & J Solicitors submitted the Administrative Review to UKBA and proved the decision to be incorrect.

The AR was successful and the original decision to refuse Entry Clearance was revoked. I received the Tier-4 Visa and entered the UK without any issue”.

Final Words

It is highly recommended that the applicant should prepare for the Tier 4 Student Visa carefully in the beginning. And even after doing all preparation if you are refused visa than administrative Review is often the swiftest, cost-effective way of having your Tier 4 (General) Student Visa immigration refusal overturned. Refusals can be disheartening, but there is a chance of a mistake being detected and your visa is granted. It therefore crucial that you apply for an Administrative Review or seek legal advice, even if you are unsure if an error has been made.

When it comes to Administrative Review, it is a case of “don’t ask, don’t get”. Make sure your dreams of studying in the UK are not scuppered because of a mistake which could be easily picked up and corrected in the Administrative Review Process.

A Y & J Solicitors are specialists in immigration law based in central London. If you would like to have more information, please contact us at [email protected] or call +44 20 7404 7933.

Disclaimer: No material/information provided on this website should be construed as legal advice. Readers should seek an appropriate professional advice for their immigration matters.

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