The UK Immigration Minister, Damian Green, has reiterated the Government’s plans to review the Tier 4 student visa system in a speech to the think tank Reform.
Speaking at a conference in London, Mr Green focused particularly on the privately-funded further education sector (private colleges), which he said is subject to ‘less regulation and more open to abuse’.
The national consultation on Tier 4 closed on the 31 January and Mr Green outlined how the agency will ‘use this to further strengthen the student visa system and clamp down on abuses of the student route to the UK’.
Mr Green said:
‘I believe attracting talented students from abroad is vital to the UK but we must be more selective about who can come here and how long they can stay’.
The 8 week public consultation received over 30,000 responses, and sought views on a range of measures to reduce the overall number of students who can come into the UK. Proposals in the consultation included:
- reducing the number of people coming to the UK to study at below degree level;
- introducing a tougher English language requirement;
- ensuring students wishing to extend their studies show evidence of academic progression;
- limiting students’ entitlements to work and their ability to bring in dependants; and
- improving the accreditation process for education providers, alongside more rigorous inspections.
The UK Border Agency said the results of the consultation will be announced in the coming weeks, although it doesn’t take much ‘reading between the lines’ to see that Mr Green has clearly decided what to do already.
In their blog yesterday, A Study in Stupidity, the JCWI, which as been relatively on this subject, said that “education and training exports represent the second biggest contributor to the UK’s net balance of payments. They are, according to the Financial Times, worth £40 billion”.
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