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UK student visa restrictions announced by Home Secretary | Immigration Matters

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The rules for student visas into the UK are to be much tougher – after fears that this route of entry is being used dishonestly, the BBC reports today.

UK Home Secretary Theresa May said student visas were being abused and “too many were here to work and not to study”.

She announced plans to cut the number of student visas by up to 80,000 – about a quarter of the current numbers.

Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper warned that rules must not damage an industry worth £5bn a year.

Mrs May told the House of Commons that the misuse of student visas had become a “symbol of a broken and abused immigration system”.

English Language requirement

The tougher rules will include a requirement for students to be able to speak English.

Mrs May said she wanted to end the situation where would-be students arrived at UK airports unable to even describe the courses they were about to begin.

There will also be tighter regulations on allowing the dependents of students to join them in the UK – and less flexibility in the number of years that overseas students can spend in the UK after courses are finished.

In response to concerns that student visas are being misused by economic migrants, there will be limits on the hours of paid work which overseas students will be allowed to carry out.

Universities had previously expressed fears about the loss of overseas students from tighter visa rules – but Universities UK said that their concerns had been taken into account.

Many of the restrictions are targeted at students in private colleges – rather than universities.

Language colleges and providers of pre-university entry courses had warned of the damage to their businesses if visa rules make it difficult for legitimate students to enter the UK.

But Mrs May told MPs that such “pathway” courses into universities would be protected, if universities acted as sponsors to students.

Private colleges to be hit

The Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper warned that the plan was being driven by the need to meet political promises about cutting immigration numbers, rather than to improve the visa system.

She said that Mrs May should act “in the interests of a sensible, controlled migration policy, rather than taking risks with an important export industry for the sake of promises she knows she can’t keep”.

The proposals from the government are the latest attempt to find a way to stop false applications without deterring legitimate students, who have become an important source of funding for UK universities and colleges.

There has been a long-standing problem with so called private bogus colleges, set up to get around visa rules under the pretence of offering courses.

Despite repeated efforts to tighten the rules, there are still concerns about the misuse of the visa system by self-regulated, private colleges.

There have been 64 colleges which have had their right to sponsor overseas students withdrawn, since the current regulations were introduced.

Last week the Home Affairs Select Committee recommended that the government should abandon plans to raise the level of English required to gain a visa.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: “The government’s student visa plans are short-sighted and risk sending out the worrying message that the UK is closed for business.” Source: BBC

Habib Rahman, Chief Executive of JCWI said:

“It’s in no one’s interest to have anything but bona fide colleges in the UK. However, these measures will discriminate against students from developing countries by subjecting them to different and more exacting requirements. They are also entirely at odds with the Government’s wider objective of stimulating growth through the private sector.’

See also:

Cross party MPs warn student visa proposals could ‘cripple’ sector, BBC reports

British universities will lose $1.6bn from student visa cut think tank warns

Government appears to be listening to education sector on student visa reforms

The student system ‘ain’t broke’, say The Economist

Edinburgh Students Union oppose UKBA’s student cull

Scottish Universities fears over tough new Tier 4 visa rules

 Tier 4 Consultation ends as Damian Green promises clampdown on Student Visa abuse

How to Obtain a Student Visa to Study in the UK

Tier 4 student visa cuts will damage UK Universities, Ministers warned

Tier 1 Post Study Work Visa to be abolished

A Study in Stupidity – JCWI Blog

College raided by UKBA and Police, five staff arrested on suspicion of immigration crimes

UK to increase immigration fees from 6 April Home Office announce

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15 Responses to “UK student visa restrictions announced by Home Secretary”
Read them below or add one

  1. chupito says :

    the government check the worked hours in the contract or in the payslip?

    Please let me know

  2. Yangyang says :

    Hi, I am yang.
    I have a problem. My visa will expired on 10/08/2011, my postgraduate study will start at 19/09/2011. Can I extend my visa in the uk, since there is a gap which more than one month?
    Thanks for your help

  3. […] UK student visa restrictions announced by Home Secretary […]

  4. […] The agency announced that ‘a statement of changes to the Immigration Rules has today been laid before Parliament, setting out how the student visa system will be reformed from next month. The reforms, which affect Tier 4 of the points-based system, were announced last week.’ […]

  5. i came in 2009 do these rules also apply to me or those coming

  6. Sagar Sabharwal says :

    This is a trick of UKBA new rules. when the economy of UK goes down they will make rules flexible automatically. To rise the economy of UK in downward conditions, the UKBA granted student visa without ielts students because it is a big source of income of UK Govt.

  7. […] UK Home Secretary Theresa May announced sweeping plans to slash the number of student visas by up to 80,000 this Month, University Chancellors must be feeling relieved that whilst the […]

  8. white monkeys are rubbish

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  10. […] a statement yesterday, Home Secretary Theresa May announced changes that she said would “re-focus the student route as a temporary one… designed to ensure […]

  11. […] Secretary last December on the reform of the student immigration system, the government have today announced a crackdown on student visa abuse and the closure of the popular Tier 1 post study work visa next […]

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