A new UK visa option will be available from January 2011 for students from outside of the UK looking to study an exclusively English language course.
The extended student visa will allow these applicants to remain in the country for up to 11 months.
This UK visa will only be open to English language students and anybody wishing to study another subject for longer than six months will still need to apply under the Tier 4 points-based system.
UK immigration consultants can offer detailed guidance regarding the particulars of the new option, but minister of state for immigration Damian Green advised applicants that they will need to "obtain Entry Clearance at a British mission overseas in advance of travel, whether they are a visa national or a non-visa national, and furnish evidence of the duration of the course".
He added that other requirements, entitlements and restrictions will remain the same as the current student visitor visa.
The English language visitor visa will be reviewed by the UK Border Agency within the next 12 months, but the government organisation did note that the new route will not affect the ongoing consultation regarding the main student route in to the UK; that is Tier 4 of the points-based system.
Tougher entrance criteria, limits of work and a tougher English language requirement are among the proposals to be discussed in the consultation regarding Tier 4 visas for students.