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Restrain on overseas students cuts down their numbers by 11,000

The  Universities UK action group has issued a warning about Britain's reputation in education after new figures divulged that the government's restrain on overseas students had cut down their numbers by 11,000 and led to more than 450 colleges pulling out of the market.

 

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Universities UK said cutting such courses was damaging Britain's reputation for being "open for business" and discouraging the pathway programmes operated by many universities.

 It estimates that 40 percent of international students go through such colleges before going taking a degree at a British university.

Student visa reforms, which included tougher sponsor and English language requirements, came into effect in April.

Nicola Dandridge of Universities UK, said it believed the government's aim of reducing net migration to below 100,000 a year lay behind the curbs. Universities UK asserted that the number of international students coming into the country should be accounted for separately and not included in the definition of net migration for the purposes of government policy. International students are not economic migrants. They come to the UK to study and then they leave."

She said Britain could not afford to make the same costly mistakes as the US and Australia which both restricted overseas student’s numbers and then dropped the policy when they realised it had seriously damaged the international competitiveness of their higher education sector.

 

The Home Office said about 400 colleges – more than 20 percent of the sector – had their sponsorship revoked as they did not apply in time and 51 had their licences revoked after the UK Border Agency investigated a spike in applications from south Asia just before the tougher English language tests came into force.

Some could not create any records of student attendance, others failed to show they checked student qualifications. While there were some who could not even produce a list of students enrolled or a timetable of classes.

Immigration minister Damian Green said extensive abuse of the student visa system, the most common way for migrants from outside the EU to get into the UK, had gone on for too long. He added the changes they have made are beginning to bite.

Green asserted that too many institutions were offering international students an immigration service rather than an education and too many students have come to the UK with the aim of getting work and bringing over family members.

He elaborated only first-class education providers should be given licences to sponsor international students. "We have curbed the opportunities to work during study and bring in family members. We have also introduced new language requirements to ensure we only attract genuine students whose primary motivation is to study."

Nicola Dandridge of Universities UK said it believed the government's aim of reducing net migration to below 100,000 a year lay behind the curbs. "Universities UK believe that the number of international students coming into the country should be accounted for separately and not included in the definition of net migration for the purposes of government policy. International students are not economic migrants. They come to the UK to study and then they leave."

She said Britain could not afford to make the same costly mistakes as the US and Australia which both curbed overseas student’s numbers and then dropped the policy when they realised it had seriously damaged the international competitiveness of their higher education sector.

 

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