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UK Universities block British students, but offer courses to non-EU candidates for £20,000 a year tuition fees | Immigration Matters

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Leading UK Universities are closing courses to British students while offering places to overseas students who pay tuition fees of up to £20,000 a year, the Mail reports this week.

Edinburgh, Manchester and Cardiff are among the top UK Universities taking advantage of rules which limit numbers of British students but place no restriction on recruitment of international students from outside the European Union.

Some have closed their doors to home applicants but will accept international students through clearing, which opens as A-level results are issued tomorrow.

Others will offer more places to non-EU candidates or allow them a wider choice of courses.

Clearing vacancies for Scottish universities show that, in some subjects, places are available for overseas students on six times as many courses as for home students.

Critics said sixth-formers would be frustrated to learn that many universities had the capacity to take extra students but were turning away well-qualified British applicants.

The system will seem particularly unfair to pupils who do better than expected in their A-levels but cannot get into the university they wanted, even though it is still recruiting.

Despite a decline in applications linked to new £9,000-a-year fees, university admissions are still competitive, and as many as 150,000 applicants this year will be unsuccessful.

Universities which exceed recruitment targets for home and European Union students face heavy fines, but they can take as many non-EU students as their facilities will allow.

With international students paying market rates for their degree courses, usually £10,000 to £20,000 a year, they are critical to the financial health of many universities. One university vice-chancellor yesterday called for the immediate scrapping of student number controls.

Professor David Green, of Worcester University, said: ‘Other countries across the world, from China, to India, to Brazil to the US, realise that the best guarantee of a prosperous future is to have a more educated population, yet we are using these number controls, which is crazy.’

Clearing listings on the UCAS website show that places are available on 149 history courses for international students, but on only 24 for home/EU applicants.

Only universities in Scotland have posted their vacancies, since exam results north of the border are issued earlier than in England and Wales.

On its website, Edinburgh, which wants to recruit an extra 100 international students this year, says it ‘may have a small number of clearing vacancies available for well-qualified non-EU international UCAS applicants.

‘We will not have clearing vacancies for other applicants.’ 

Of universities which responded to the Mail’s survey, Manchester said it ‘may be the case where a course reaches the home target… places remain available for international students only’. Loughborough, Essex, Cardiff, Brunel and Queen Mary, University of London, all made similar comments. Source: Daily Mail.

Under new measure announced by the UKBA, students who have applied for Tier 4 visas to study in the UK and who have already passed approved language tests could be barred from taking up their places at colleges or universities if immigration officers judge that their English is not good enough.

Cynthia Barker of Immigration Advisers Bison Management said she had dealt with hundreds of successful appeals under the old student visa system.

‘Students refused visa because of unpredictable decisions by ECO’s were able to appeal to an independent immigration judge in the UK where refusals were often overturned.

‘When the points based system was introduce for Tier 4 student visa applications in 2010, the Home Office abolished the right of appeal against a visa refusal as it said decisions would be based on a points score rather than an ECO’s subjective judgment.’

See also:

How to compare your qualifications with UK equivalent

New ‘educational oversight’ arrangements for Tier 4 private colleges announced by UKBA

Universities face more private sector competition as Pearson launch UK degree course

New Government funded courses available for Bulgarian and Romanian EU students

Back to square one for Tier 4 students as UK immigration staff to ‘test’ English

Romanian and Bulgarian students say yellow card permit delays put degrees at risk

London Metropolitan University Tier 4 student visa licence suspended

Parliament take emergency action to save immigration system after court says it has been operating illegally since 2008

Private Tier 4 sponsoring colleges sacrificed in immigration cull

Glasgow Caledonian University gets Tier 4 sponsorship licence back within weeks of suspension

Overseas students trapped in UK visa delays

New visa rules for overseas students ‘will cost billions’ say Universities UK

UKBA confirm changes to the Immigration Rules which start on 6 April 2012

Overseas students should be excluded from UK net migration figures, say MPs

650 Tasmac students stranded as University of Wales accredited college closes

UK Universities claimed £86m for students who had dropped out

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

Majestic College offer special packages for EU students. They also have a number of employers looking for staff right now and are willing to employ Bulgarians and Romanians.

For more information call Joanna on 0208 207 1020 or email

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!


It doesn’t matter where you come from – UK, Europe or anywhere else in the world, it is important to ensure that your qualifications are recognised. In the UK there is a national agency that carries out this service, they are called UK NARIC.

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