UK may suffer loss of $3.8bn with stricter student visa rules

Fees income will be cut by $270m over four years
6th July 2011: The British economy might suffer the loss of up to $3.8bn as tougher student visa rules introduced by UKBA start to take effect. This has been reflected in a report commissioned by Damian Green, the minister himself, responsible for the visa changes.
The report estimates that income generated from fees will be cut by $270m over four years. About $3.2bn will be lost because students registered at private colleges have lost their right to work part-time and add to the economy.

An impact assessment report by the Home Office says the new rule will discourage bogus students and improve compliance. But the expected 230,000 decrease in the numbers of applicants for the Tier 4 student visa from outside the EU over the next four years will have wider costs.

Private English language training providers are also expected to see applicants go down by 13,000 in 2014; with a net loss $4.8m the providers had 21,000 Tier 4 visa applicants in 2010.

The report suggests that the resolve to lift up the minimum level of English proficiency for students from non-English-speaking countries who want to study on degree courses will cut applicants by 11,000 per year.

Meanwhile, lobbying by the British Council and the English UK trade association to have the Accreditation UK inspection scheme for private English language programmes accepted by the Home Office for Tier 4 visa applications has failed.

Accreditation UK was not included on a final list of recognised accrediting bodies published by the UK Border Agency last month. Institutions currently approved by Accreditation UK that want to continue to enroll Tier 4 students will need to gain approved accreditation by the end of 2012.

The UK Border agency claims the aim of the amended rules which came into force from July 4, is to deliver a strong migration system which tackles immigration abuse, while allowing genuine students to study at authentic colleges.

Restricted work entitlements, by only allowing students sponsored by higher education institutions (HEIs) and publicly funded further education colleges to work part-time during term time and full-time during vacations are among some of the changes to the student visa system.

It also included restricted sponsorship of dependants to those of students sponsored by HEIs on postgraduate courses lasting 12 months or longer, and of government-sponsored students on courses lasting longer than 6 months.

UKBA asserts as per the amended system the institutions require to confirm that courses represent genuine academic progression from any previous courses studied by the student in the UK and create a streamlined application process for low-risk nationals sponsored by Highly Trusted sponsors.


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