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Higher English skills required for students coming to UK

Minimum level to increase to B2

17th January 2011: In yet another attempt to make it tougher for the foreign students to come to UK, a proposal has been sent from the Home Office to the UK Ministers. The proposal calls for a higher English language skill requirement in order to reduce the number of foreign students coming to the UK.

According to the proposal, the minimum level was expected to increase to B2, or "upper-intermediate competency". Currently, students studying in the UK at below degree level are required to have a B1 English level, which is equivalent to intermediate language skills.

Two-thirds of non EU migrants come to the UK under student visas. To cut net migration from 200,000 to below 100,000 by 2015, the UK government were expected to cut down the number of overseas students entering the UK at below degree level.

One option proposed by the Home Office to solve this matter was to raise minimum English language skills level. The Home Secretary Theresa May stated that they wanted a student visa system which encouraged the entry of genuine students coming to study legitimate courses. It meant students who were equipped to study their courses.

However, knowing that English language learners would probably need more time to reach higher minimum levels, and to allow legitimate English language colleges to continue to offer opportunities to genuine students, the government would extend the period that the students can remain in the UK under the student visitor visa from six to 11 months. The extension would go into practice with at the start of the year.

Immigration Minister Damian Green had asserted that their proposals to tackle abuse by foreign nationals using student visas to gain work in the UK would ensure that they brought net migration down to the tens of thousands.

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