Changes to the student visa system
Tough new rules and enforcement action to stop abuse of the student visa system mean that over 450 education providers will no longer be able to sponsor new international students.
In total these colleges could have brought more than 11,000 students into the UK to study each year.
New UK Border Agency regulations have significantly raised the standards education providers must meet before they can bring international students to the UK. So far, over 400 colleges have lost their right to recruit international students after they failed to sign up for the new inspection system. As well as cutting abuse, the new standards will help ensure that genuine international students receive the highest quality education.
The UK Border Agency has also created a list of more than 2,000 banks and financial institutions who can no longer provide evidence to verify a student has sufficient funds for their course. If a bank is on the list, a student citing that institution will not be granted a visa.
Further measures to tighten the student regime are due in April. The post study work route, which has allowed graduates free labour market access, will be closed and students wishing to stay and work will need to apply under the skilled workers visa route. There will also be new time limits on student visas and tougher rules on work placements. In the mean time the UK Border Agency is continually monitoring the behaviour of all sponsors and will take action against any that are not complying with standards of education provision or immigration control.
The changes to the student route form part of the Government's comprehensive package to overhaul the immigration system, taking action on families, settlement, those coming here to work, as well as students, in order to bring immigration levels back down to sustainable levels.