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Consultation on Tier 4 Student Visas announced by Home Office | Immigration Matters

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Following yesterday’s publication of the figures for next year’s immigration cap on skilled workers, Home Secretary Theresa May has announced a new consultation on Tier 4 Student Visas.

The government wants to reduce the numbers of students coming in to study lower level courses and stamp out abuse. In line with that commitment, a consultation will be launched before the end of the year focusing on Tier 4 of the points-based system – the student route – which she added currently accounts for ‘two-thirds of migrants entering the UK each year’. She added:

‘By introducing a system that is more selective and more robust, the government is aiming to stamp out abuse while continuing to attract the top students to our top universities.’

The consultation, which will run for 8 weeks, will seek views on a range of measures to reduce the number of students that can come into the UK, such as:

  • for adult students, focusing Tier 4 on higher-level courses and those offered by Highly Trusted sponsors;
  • introducing tougher entry criteria such as English language competence;
  • ensuring that students wishing to extend their studies show evidence of academic progression;
  • limiting the student’s entitlements to work and sponsor dependants; and
  • improving the accreditation process for education providers, alongside more rigorous inspections.

Theresa May added:

‘I want to ensure that students and education providers are of a high quality.

‘People imagine students to be those who come here for a few years to study at university and then go home – that is not always the case. We estimate that nearly half of all students coming here from abroad are coming to study a course below degree level where levels of compliance with immigration requirements are not high enough.

‘While we will protect our world-class universities, we want suitably qualified students with the genuine desire to study to come to our country. We must also have a more robust system to ensure that students leave the country at the end of their legitimate stay.’

A number of universities have already real concerns about the impact of the work based cap. Professor Steve Smith, president of vice-chancellors’ umbrella group, Universities UK, and vice-chancellor of Exeter University recently noted in the Guardian that the cap:

‘..could be a serious blow to the UK market in the face of huge competition from other countries that are investing in higher education… with the investment that competitor countries such as the US and China are putting into universities makes them more likely to poach staff at British universities. All of which amounts to a serious worry.’

With foreign students also accounting for as much as 30% of the revenue of some universities, and public expenditure cuts of 40 % to the higher education budget and 25 % to the further education budget, can the UK afford to go down this road?   

See also:

Non-EU skilled workers to be capped at 21,700

Immigration ‘cap won’t fit’ say JCWI

Non-EU migrants should be cut by 25%, says MAC

Vince Cable says immigration cap is damaging British industry  

UK Immigration Cap could damage higher education

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14 Responses to “Consultation on Tier 4 Student Visas announced by Home Office”
Read them below or add one

  1. sarika says :

    I want to know a person came to UK to study full time out of EU with the husband and two children. Their intention is to settle down in UK. How easy is for them to settle here? I know she got an uncle a GP, can he sponser for them to stay? Thanks!

  2. Cham Joseph says :

    I am a second year student from a breathtakingly beautiful island in the Caribbean.
    By virtue of my immigration status in the UK, a few weeks ago I received an email from International Office at my university ,drawing my attention to a document titled ‘THE STUDENT IMMIGRATION SYSTEM CONSULTATION December 2010′ by the Home Office.

    I read it with keen interest and found myself quite upset by the notion that Undergraduate International students (who are the focus of my article) are desperate to leave their home country to seek residency in the UK and that this ambition of theirs is fulfilled under the disguise of furthering their education.
    For a while now, this is a view I have felt was somewhat indirectly propagated but has now been qualified in the above document stating that ‘The Government wants to ensure that those who enter on a student visa genuinely come here to study, not to work or with a view to settling here…. and on completion of their studies, students will be expected to return to their countries of origin.’
    To clamp down on what I think may be deemed by the government as being some sort of false misrepresentation , some proposals in the introduction of the document by the Home Secretary Theresa May , include ‘ Ensuring students return overseas after their course , limiting the entitlements to work and sponsor dependants and simpler procedures for checking low-risk applications…’

    Excuse me for relating the well known but international students do pay on average £11 000 a year for tuition, approximately £5000 in accommodation costs and the additional food , travel expenses and the seemingly never-ending list of costs . Actually, the document cited that ‘ In higher education alone, international students contributed some £2.2billion in 2008/09 to their institutions in tuition fees, and if personal off-campus expenditure is included we estimate the figure approaches £5 billion’. It must be noted that almost all of our local currencies are much lower than the pound sterling so one can surely come to the conclusion that we are not likely to be second class citizens in our home country! In a lot of cases, it may be quite the contrary. At least you can draw your own conclusions bearing in mind how home students claim to be under great financial strain by the current £3290 tuition fees let alone the approved increase to take effect in 2012.

    Most International students with whom I have spoken, claim to stand a very strong chance of immediate employment upon completion of their degree. This is partly due to the ‘connections’ their families have in their country and also how well recognized a degree gained from a reputable institution of this kind is deemed.

    However, in my opinion, international students definitely make the greatest sacrifice when choosing to embark upon undergraduate studies at UK institutions because our families face the greatest financial burden as a consequence and moving thousands of miles to endure the unknown and adapt to a totally new environment is by my experience an incredibly hard feat to initially overcome. So why take this great leap of faith and embark on this journey? Personally, I was always intrigued by the accounts of my parents who pursued undergraduate and post graduate degrees here and wanted to have the unique experience of partaking in pleasures that are for the most part not offered at home.

    Admittedly, a few of us do from the onset hope to work here upon graduating but notably most of us only intend to live here for a few years and then return home having broadened our knowledge not just academically but upon acquisition of a well rounded learning experience. After all, the world is meant to be our oyster so why not capitalize on this time , while at the peak of our youth to explore its’ wonders while learning from people from varied backgrounds and grasp the opportunity to expand our horizons ?
    International students here generally just want to have had that experience. Least it be forgotten, we greatly contribute to the British economy during our academic tenure and harbour no ambition to remain here illegally and be a liability on tax payers instead of utilizing our acquired knowledge in a rewarding way.

    To explain in my country’s colloquial terms, the mentality I perceive to be exhibited is ‘well International students know the fees are high , despite that they have the audacity to willingly choose to come here so obviously they can afford the exorbitant costs ,so just take their money and as soon as they are done ensure they are shipped back to wherever they came from ‘. Admittedly, many other international students and I sometimes feel like a commodity only to be used and promptly discarded of.

    The UK government is evidently concentrating its’ efforts on the immediate departure of international students who are intelligent, talented, hard working individuals who can do nothing but enrich society in all its’ facets most notably culturally and economically. I would advise to prioritize the issue of illegal immigrants who contribute nothing to society but rather, are leaches on the benefits system, the NHS and ultimately a burden on tax payers.
    In the final analysis, we are young people with the same ambitions as all others. That being to do well academically, get a ‘good’ job and give of our ultimate best in our respective roles.

    The world over seeks people who demonstrate those ambitious qualities regardless of nationality and are willing to embrace us with open arms and value the contributions we could make to society. My father is such an inspiration to me and he is a prime example of this. My dad is a national of a country in South America and at 22 years old he made our country home. He has made such an indelible contribution particularly to our Financial and Agricultural sectors.
    Consequently, if the UK does implement their new proposed policies and disallow post study work, I am convinced that international students may potentially excel even more than they may have by remaining in the UK. That is merely because we would have settled in places where our talents are embraced and where we feel society thinks itself to be better as a result of our contribution as opposed to staying here and possibly opting for menial jobs not suited to our qualifications.

    My advice to other International students is simply to embrace this experience whole heartedly and enjoy its challenges and joys. It is indeed one which will avail you to many possibilities in the future. Wherever, your ambitions lie then pursue them always with honest intentions. If home is where your heart is and your dreams lies therein, then return home, serve your country and give only of your best. If like me, home is where your heart is but possibly not where your dreams can unfold, then follow your dreams to wherever they can be manifested and appreciated .Venture to where you will be happy and can fully blossom into what you want to be, doing what you’ll love to do. Despite imposed free movement and immigration restrictions, at most, the world is still your oyster! If nothing else, our time spent at UK institutions of higher education can always be remembered by gracing the list of Notable Alumni…

  3. hi……..i want to know that if a person is studying english language course.should he go back to extned his visa or he could extend it while living here???

  4. Farhat says :

    I think I lost my messege, Please Our Employer take us as a carer but they suck our blood like to do all kitchen work, cleaning of the home, domestic work and less care for service users. Employer only pay us 5.7p/h for these all jobs.

  5. Virginia says :

    Hi..I want to know if a UK student dependent who’s been offered with sponsorship can process his/her application here in UK or does he/she needs to go back to his/her country of origin?

  6. Thank you for your comment. Perhaps you should send this to your local MP to lobby the government.

  7. Tony Bates says :

    Of course we all wish to stamp out abuse of student visas, but we seriously have to question whether this is the most appropriate way to do this, especially at a time when we need to do everything to support our struggling economy. Towns like Bournemouth are reliant on the income from students attending the numerous language and businesses colleges in the Borough. The not only support hundreds of jobs within the colleges themselves, they also provide an import source of income for landlords/ladies, shops, transport operators. Restrictions on numbers of sub-degree level students and criteria for language competence would have a devastating effect on the local economy.

    Students are not immigrants in the sense understood by the general public, they provide a boost to the national economy and enhance the reputation of the UK abroad as an open and democratic society. There are already restrictions on their rights to work and rights to stay at the end of the visa period. Improve the monitoring and enforcement of both colleges and students, but don’t cut off an important generator of overseas income at a time of economic crisis.

  8. The issue of post study visas was mentioned by the Minister and there does not seem to be any firm policy on this yet.

    A new Consultation on Tier 4 Student Visas was also announced by Home Office.

    See: Home Secretary Theresa May has announced a new consultation on Tier 4 Student Visas.

    Would anyone else like to comment on the PSW issue?

  9. lun tay churhooooooooo naei jana asssi uk

  10. hi i want to know that whether the ukBA going to blocked to issue the post study wprk permits to those students who havu UK Bachelor degree or Master degree if yes then from which date this rule is to be implemented

  11. […] Consultation on Tier 4 Student Visas announced by Home Office […]

  12. […] Consultation on Tier 4 Student Visas announced by Home Office […]

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