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UK determined to crackdown on visas for non EU students

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UK determined to crackdown on visas for non EU students
« on: February 05, 2011, 02:07:57 AM »

Release date: 04 Feb 2011
Cutting down on the number of overseas students being allowed into the UK from non European Union countries is vital to combat massive and unpleasant abuses of the system, it is claimed.

UK Immigration Minister Damian Green has vociferously defended plans for a crackdown on the student visa system. ‘We want to drive abuse out of the system. The primary objective of studying in the UK must be to study, not to work or to acquire long-term residency status,’ he said.

Under the plans only a handful of ‘trusted’ providers would be able to offer courses below degree level to adults and inspections will be made more rigorous to ensure compliance. Students will also have to comply with tougher English language test and could be asked to provide evidence of their academic progress.

Tougher rules will also be introduced for those wishing to extend their studies, work during their study period and there will be limits on dependants being allowed to enter and stay in the country.

Speaking to the Reform think tank, Green revealed that 91,000 people arrived in the UK last year to study at institutions not verified as ‘highly trusted’. Some two thirds of the non-EU migrants who enter the UK come on student visas and the Government wants to bring these numbers down as it tries to fulfil its pledge to cut net migration from 200,000 to fewer than 100,000 by 2015.

Green also said the measures might help relieve graduate unemployment, which last week hit 20 per cent, its highest level for more than a decade. ‘There is clearly very, very widespread abuse in the system. It seems to me that to allow unfettered access to the jobs market for two years to anyone with a student visa from abroad is putting an unnecessary extra strain on our own graduates. That’s clearly an area where the current system is too generous,’ he said.

‘It’s quite important that we have a proper fair playing field for British graduates in the jobs market. Driving out that widespread abuse does actually mean that there would be a significant drop in the numbers of people coming here,’ added Green.

He denied that it would hit universities in terms of reducing much-needed fees from overseas students. ‘I couldn’t be clearer that the biggest restriction we’re imposing is on sub-degree courses,’ he said, adding that it need not affect any genuine institution offering a genuine course.

‘Too many come to do courses below degree level as a cover for staying and working. I have been turning over the stones in this area, and I have to report that some unpleasant things have crawled out. We need to stop this abuse,’ he said.

Source: ExpatForum