90,000 foreign students allowed entry into Britain for joining not-so-trusted colleges

Could vanish without the authorities being contacted

31st January 2011: More than 90,000 foreign students have been allowed to enter Britain in the past year for taking up courses in colleges the Government does not trust. Some of these foreign students are feared to have simply disappeared into the underground economy. It is apprehended the will never go home.
The startling revelations are expected to be made by immigration minister Damian Green in a speech.

The minister is expected to talk about foreign students allowed to come to Britain in the past year to attend colleges not ‘trusted’ by the Government.

After probing the functioning of private colleges, Green is already preparing to crack down on every route into the UK for migrants, including the students’ visa route. Green is expected to say he has been turning over the stones, and he has to report that some unpleasant things have crawled out. And, the need of the hour was to stop the abuse.

Green believes Labour allowed students to continue to get visas for attending colleges which had not been placed in the category of ‘highly trusted’. This was an indicator that the students could vanish without the authorities being contacted.

Labour had earlier claimed the points-based system would put to an end the extensive abuse of the student visa system by colleges.

According to the latest statistics, 613 private colleges are not ‘highly trusted’ 
as of mid-January. Together, they had the capability to sponsor 280,000 international students.

They have assigned 120,000 of the 280,000 available places, 91,000 in visa applications in the past year.

Green is expected to say the potential for abuse is clearly enormous, with up to 91,000 people coming here to “study” at institutions not verified as highly trusted.

Green has already made it clear that they were going to be more selective about students `who can come here and how long they can stay’.

Green has asserted: ‘I believe attracting talented students from abroad is vital to the UK, but we must clamp down on abuse and be more selective about who can come here and how long they can stay.

‘Too many students arriving to study at below degree level have been coming here with a view to living and working, rather than studying. We need to stop this abuse.

 ‘I am pleased that so far people have been engaging with us on this issue, and we have received a substantial number of responses to our consultation. I want to encourage those who haven’t had their say to do so now.’

It may sound disappointing for aspiring learners wishing to come to the UK, but the Government is apparently making the rules tougher for them.

The new proposals could see Tier Four largely restricted to those studying degree level courses, unless the institution is a Highly Trusted Sponsor. English language capability could be a precondition for people wishing to study a higher level course. The Tier Four applicants will have to pass an English language test showing competence at intermediary level B2, a step up from the B1 currently required.

The move to ensure students return overseas after their course finishes could mean they will have to leave the UK and apply for a new visa to advance their studies, and show proof of sequence to a higher course. It could also mean students are not given unrestricted access to work through the post-study route under Tier One.

In addition, the Government is looking at ways to improve the inspection and accreditation of the education sector, to ensure the courses offered by private institutions of further and higher education are of the highest quality.


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