Foreign students to be cut by 100,000 a year

Foreign students to be cut by 100,000 a year

Britain's Home Secretary Theresa May is expected to make a series of measures to tackle bogus colleges and tighten the rules, including restrictions on those wanting to study at below degree level, "The Daily Telegraph" has reported.

A controversial scheme that allows tens of thousands of foreign graduates to stay on after their degree to look for work will also be cut in half. However, ministers have stopped short of abolishing the so-called Post Study Work Route altogether.

The sweeping changes come as figures suggest that one in seven foreign students attending private colleges are bogus. The overall number of students who breach their visa conditions has also tripled in a year with incidents now running at the equivalent of one a day.

Student visas have peaked at more than 300,000 in recent years and currently represent two thirds of all visas issued under the points-based system. According to the report, ministers are determined to tackle abuse in the system and see the route as a key weapon for the Government in meeting its pledge of reducing overall net immigration to the "tens of thousands".

Hence forward only the most trusted education institutions, such as established universities, will be able to offer courses at below degree level to non-EU students. Official sources believe the move, along with other measures such as tighter English language requirement, will cut the number of students arriving each year by 80,000.

There will also be a reduction of 20,000 among those immigrants already in the country who then swap to student visas in order the prolong their stay in the UK.
In a separate move, the Post Study Work Route will be tightened.

"Immigration by students has more than doubled in the last ten years and is now far larger than through the work or family routes. This Government recognises the important contribution that international students make to the UK’s economy, and to making our education system one of the best in the world," a Home Office spokeswoman said.

He said that it has become very apparent that the old student visa regime failed to control immigration and failed to protect legitimate students from poor quality colleges.
"Too much trust has been placed on largely unregulated colleges and too many people used to come as students but were primarily working, not studying," he said. The British government is set to refocus the system as a temporary route, available to only the brightest and best, the spokeswoman added.

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