From 21st January 2016*, non-EEA English language students booked onto standard 25 week programmes will receive immigration permissions for a maximum of 8 months, rather than 1 year. This measure was part of government reforms announced in May 2015.
The change will apply to all GNIB cards issued for English language courses, including renewals, regardless of when the course was booked. Thus, the date a card is issued, not the date a course was purchased, will determine the length of the immigration permission
There will be no change for non-English language courses, e.g. degree programmes, which will still be eligible for 1 year immigration permissions.
Non-EEA nationals can still apply to renew on two occasions as English language students (i.e. a total of three English language courses) before needing to progress to a higher level course.
Standard holiday working permissions continue to apply for holders of 8 month English language visas.
* The date of implementation was originally announced as 1st October 2015, but was later amended to 21st January 2016 to coincide with the full introduction of the ILEP list of visa eligible courses