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UK Immigration crackdown on Tier 4 students sees 70% fall in applications to private colleges | Immigration Matters

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City AM reports that the UK government’s policy to cut immigration is having a devastating effect on private higher education, according to a new report published last week.

Prohibiting some international students, those studying at private institutions, from working part-time to support their studies in the UK must be reversed, the Centre Forum think tank argued.

“Since these controls were introduced in 2011, enrolment numbers are estimated to have dropped by around 70 per cent,” the report said.

The report quotes Dr John Sanders, who was principal of London’s Cavendish College until its closure as an independent college this month.

“I find it incredible that the UK Border Agency considers the likes of Cavendish College to be a threat to immigration control,” Sanders said.

“There is now an enormous disparity in the treatment of international students in the private sector compared with those in public colleges and universities. The government clearly does not care how it reaches its net migration target.” Source: City Am.

UK Universities appear to be the beneficiaries of the private sector’s demise, with applications from non-EU students rising against a declining trend in the number of resident students, according to UCAS figures revealed this month.

For instance, in order to continue their studies in the UK an in-country student whose private college has closed down has no choice but to enrol at a more expensive government owned university or college, as this is the only option if they need to work part time or re-sponsor their dependants.

Earlier this month Immigration Matters reported that UK universities had seen a 13.7% increase in applications from overseas students from non-EU countries, despite changes to Tier 4 student visa rules and the abolition of PSW this April.

Immigration Matters has received hundreds of comments and emails from Tier 4 students who have been left stranded, and often broke, after their college had closed down or been removed from the Tier 4 Sponsors Register or ‘Register of Sponsors Licensed Under the Points-based System’.

Cynthia Barker, Immigration Adviser for Bison UK, is receiving distressed calls from students on a daily basis.

She offers this advice for students who discover that their private college has had their Tier 4 Sponsors Licence suspended, revoked or has simply closed down due to financial reasons.

‘The first thing to do is seek professional advice rather than panicking or hiding. Also talk to your college and find out exactly what is their status, as only they, the regulator and the UK Border Agency will normally have this information. There is no official list of suspended or revoked colleges published by the UK Border Agency, and websites which claim to publish lists of suspended colleges are usually out of date or publishing inaccurate and often misleading information.

‘If your college has been suspended from the Tier 4 sponsors register you can continue studying until they get their licence back or your visa expires.

‘However, if their licence has been revoked you will normally be given 60 days in which to find another Tier 4 sponsor.

Cynthia adds that many of the students have paid for courses in advance and do not have enough money left to prove maintenance in order to apply for a new visa.

Others are affected by the ‘3 year rule’ because they have failed to complete a course or make satisfactory academic progress with their previous college.

In some cases this is because the college has closed and the student can no longer obtain a progress report, but sometimes it is the fault of the student who has not taken the course seriously or has run away without paying their fees.

Finally, Cynthia reminds Tier 4 students that they must be studying to legally remain in the UK.

‘I have come across hundreds of students who have not yet registered with another college, are not in full time study, but have continued to work illegally.

‘If you get caught you will be deported and banned from returning to the UK for up to 10 years, and your employer could be fined up to £10,000.’

See also:

New student visa rules announced today

UK University applicants drops 8.7% but non-EU students increase, UCAS figures reveal

New Tier 4 student visa rules now in force

Student visa crackdown damaging our reputation abroad, Universities UK warns



Important UK Border Agency update for Tier 4 sponsors – educational oversight and other changes

New Tier 4 sponsor guidance published for Highly Trusted Sponsorship – will your private college qualify?

Post Study Work Visa to be abolished April 2012 as part of student visa clampdown

UK university setting up a memorial scholarship in memory of murdered Indian student

Can family dependants of Tier 4 Students work while studying in the UK?

Free service launched to help overseas students study at UK Universities

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: or visit

Looking for a Tier 4 college or University or need advice?

UKUS is a free University and College Admissions and advice service based in London, UK. Students interested in studying abroad can complete the Online UKUS Registration Form for more details.

Overseas students and workers can qualify for a tax refund

You could qualify for a tax refund if you are an overseas student, work permit holder, Tier 1, Yellow or Blue Card holder – in fact any visa type – even if you are no longer legal or even in the UK!

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