A cross party group of MP’s have signed an Early Day Motion (EDM) calling on the UK Government to abolish ‘flawed and rushed’ legislation brought in by the previous administration requiring overseas students wishing to study English in Britain to first pass an English test.
The group of 14 Members of Parliament, including Lib Dems, Labour, Green Party and Conservative members, said the rules would deter 100,000 overseas students from studying in the UK.
English UK, a body representing English Language Schools, estimates the changes brought in March 2010, just before the General Election, could lose the UK economy up to £1.4 billion and put 3400 people out of work.
On 22 March English UK lodged a legal challenge in the form of a Judicial Review to force the government to rescind the rules described as ‘barmy’ on it’s website.
English UK Solicitors, Penningtons said:
‘The application for judicial review was issued on 22 March 2010. Just two days later, Collins J took the unusual step of granting permission before the Secretary of State had filed an acknowledgement of service or summary grounds of defence. The order granting permission was made in unusually forthright terms, with the judge stating: “It is difficult to see how the extension of the level of English to those who come to study English can reasonably be justified.” Although permission was stayed to allow the respondent to argue why it should not have been granted, the Secretary of State has now confirmed that permission is not opposed.’
‘The claim is brought on a number of grounds. English UK are arguing that the provision in the Immigration Rules (para. 120(a) of Appendix A) which allows the UKBA to set minimum academic standards for Tier 4 students in sponsor guidance, as opposed to in the Rules themselves, is unlawful.’
The judge, Collins J noted, when granting permission:
“The use of guidance in circumstances where its effect is to render entry for students more difficult is arguably a misuse of the powers contained in the 1971 Act.”
English UK is represented by Nichola Carter, a partner in Penningtons Solicitors LLP’s immigration team and by Judith Farbey and Joe Middleton at Doughty St Chambers. Commenting on the case, Nichola Carter said:
“English UK believe that the changes are irrational given the adverse effect they will have on English language centres and other stakeholders and the absence of any evidence to suggest that they will prevent abuse of the immigration system.”
The full EDM laid before Parliament by Stephen Lloyd MP on 2 June 2010 reads:
That this House is alarmed by the previous administration’s ruling of 10 March 2010 that raised detrimentally the entry criteria for foreign students wishing to study the English language in this country in an attempt to deter bogus students; notes that it was both a rushed and flawed alteration, including a requirement for students to already possess intermediate level English, which is equivalent to A level English, before being allowed to even study English in the UK; considers that it will discourage an estimated 100,000 legitimate international students from coming to the UK to study; further notes that the professional body, English UK, estimates that £400 million per annum and 3,400 jobs will be lost from the teaching sector and £1 billion from the university sector, who take around 46 per cent. of their international students from those who already study English in the UK; further considers that it will have a profound impact on the vital £17 million per annum which foreign students bring to the economy in Eastbourne; and calls on the Government and the new Immigration Minister to abolish this inexplicable legislation in order to protect the UK’s standing as a world leader in the area, noting that, if the Government does not rescind this legislation, other English-speaking countries will benefit while the UK’s vital home grown industry will suffer.
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