New visa rules to cut foreign student numbers

A CLAMPDOWN on international student numbers will result in tens of thousands of those from outside the EU being forced to go home after finishing their studies.

A controversial visa regime which allows students to stay in the UK to look for work will be scrapped, under Home Office immigration proposals announced yesterday.

The post-study work route will be scrapped, only highly-trusted sponsors will be able to offer courses under degree level – including A-levels, vocational courses and GCSEs – to adults, and measures to ensure students return home after their studies will be launched.

Two thirds of non-EU migrants come to the UK on student visas, making this a key target for the Government as it aims to cut net migration from 200,000 to under 100,000 by 2015.

Bogus colleges and courses will also be targeted, with stricter accreditation procedures for private sector education providers.

Immigration Minister Damian Green told the Yorkshire Post that two colleges in the region have already had their licences revoked, compared to the 56 across the country in 2010.

He said: "Someone was coming to do an IT course who had never heard of Microsoft. These things can either make you laugh or cry.

"We need to tighten up our procedures all round.

"What we can do is close down colleges that are accepting students of that kind of calibre. This is part of our overall aim of tacking immigration."

Tougher entry criteria proposed in the Home Office consultation includes a requirement for non-EU students wanting to stay in the UK to extend their studies to show "clear evidence of academic progression to a higher level".

Home Secretary Theresa May said last month that the Government will cut the numbers of students coming to the UK to study below degree level.

She added: "Let me make clear – I will do nothing to prevent those coming here to study degree-level courses and I will protect our world-class academic institutions above and below degree level."