Government to launch review of student visas.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has announced a review of the student visa process, to clamp down on people applying to study in the UK with the intention of working illegally when they get here.
The review, reporting in December, will consider whether visas should be granted only to foreign students on degree and postgraduate courses and stopped for those seeking to take shorter courses leading to lower-level qualifications.
The review, which comes just eight months after the launch of Tier 4 for student visas, would ”look at the case for raising the minimum level of course for which foreign students can get a visa,” Brown said.
The report, expected this December, and would also ”examine the case for introducing mandatory English-language testing for student visas other than for English courses, and also review rules under which students on lower qualification courses work part time, especially those on short courses, to look at whether temporary students are filling jobs that would be better filled by young British workers.”
Speaking to an Indian newspaper on the issue of raising the minimum level of course for which foreign students can get a visa, Sam Murray, a spokesperson from the UK Border Agency, said:
”At present, a general student can get a confirmation of acceptance for studies or a visa letter for courses that lead to an approved qualification approved at level 3 or the same as or above on the national qualifications framework, among others. What we got from the speech is that this level is to be reviewed”.
And the chief executive of the Immigration Advisory Service, Keith Best, said he was “very worried” that any clampdown on student visas could harm the UK’s lucrative English-language teaching sector.
Immigration Matters Comment
Overseas students are worth around £8 billion to the UK economy and provide employment for many thousands of British workers, so the government will not want to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs.
A number of industry sectors, such as healthcare and hospitality, are almost totally dependent on the flexible labour provided by overseas students who fill thousands of vacant posts all over the country.
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