The Daily Mail reports that eight non-EU students are arrested every day for breaching immigration rules, new figures have revealed.
UK Border Agency figures show that more than 1,500 students from outside Europe were held over a six-month period.
They were accused by immigration officers of working illegally or overstaying their visas.
The arrests are likely to be a fraction of the true number actually breaking the rules say the Mail.
Ministers are expected to reveal full details this week of a crack down on abuses of the student visa system when Tier 4 changes are unveiled.
Migrant numbers must be slashed by tens of thousands to meet the Government’s target of cutting net migration to fewer than 100,000 a year by 2015.
Universities and colleges say this will damage the higher education industry and last week a cross-party group of MPs has heavily criticised the government’s proposals to reduce the number of international students entering the UK.
The Home Affairs select committee strongly recommended the government abandon plans to raise the level of English required to gain a visa and question whether students, which used to be called student visitors, should even be counted as ‘migrants’.
But ministers say too many students are studying below degree level and want to ‘weed out’ those abusing the system.
Earlier this month, the Liberal Democrat Higher Education Minister David Willetts indicated that the government might be taking a more flexible view on proposed changes for students who wished to stay on in the UK under the Tier 1 post study work visa. Mr Willetts said that post-study-work “is a feature” of our higher education system.
He told MPs that there “are a whole range of options between complete closure of the route and the status quo” and “there may be ways in which we can tighten it up or make sure that it’s not abused or not becoming a route to settlement.”
The figures – taken from official data – show nearly one in six immigration arrests last year was related to a student visa.
There were more than 1,500 arrests of foreign students between April and October 2010.
In a separate report by the Evening Standard a billboard in India featuring the British tourist image of a red double-decker is advertising a scam to sell fake student visas for entry into the UK.
The giant poster, on display in Gujarat, states: “Get a FREE ride to the UK. Apply for admissions, get your visas & fly FREE to London.”
Recent figures show foreign students’ asylum claims have more than quadrupled in the past year, from a monthly average of 20 to 90.
If you need any immigration advice or help with Sponsorship or Work Permits, Visa, ILR/Settlement, Citizenship, dependant visa or an appeal against a refusal please email: