8-week consultation to seek views on steps to reduce students’ number
24th November 2010: The UK Border Agency has announced the holding of a consultation focusing on Tier 4 of the points-based system – the student route
The UKBA said: `The coalition government has vowed to reduce net migration and, to achieve this goal, changes are being made across the immigration system – with the tightening of the economic routes just one part of a package of measures.
`In line with that commitment, a consultation will be launched before the end of the year focusing on Tier 4 of the points-based system – the student route – which currently accounts for two-thirds of migrants entering the UK each year.
`By introducing a system that is more selective and more robust, the government is aiming to stamp out abuse while continuing to attract the top students to our top universities.
`The consultation, which will run for 8 weeks, will seek views on a range of measures to reduce the number of students that can come into the UK, such as: for adult students, focusing Tier 4 on higher-level courses and those offered by Highly Trusted sponsors; introducing tougher entry criteria such as English language competence; ensuring that students wishing to extend their studies show evidence of academic progression; limiting the student’s entitlements to work and sponsor dependants; and improving the accreditation process for education providers, alongside more rigorous inspections.
Home Secretary Theresa May added: ‘I want to ensure that students and education providers are of a high quality.
‘People imagine students to be those who come here for a few years to study at university and then go home – that is not always the case. We estimate that nearly half of all students coming here from abroad are coming to study a course below degree level where levels of compliance with immigration requirements are not high enough.
‘While we will protect our world-class universities, we want suitably qualified students with the genuine desire to study to come to our country. We must also have a more robust system to ensure that students leave the country at the end of their legitimate stay.’
As of now it is clear that Theresa May will slam the door on as many as 120,000 international students coming to Britain annually.
The move has evoked sharp reactions from academics and students. They have warned that the action to shut down student visas for those on "below-degree" courses would have a devastating effect on the finances, as they account for about 40 per cent of the annual total.
It would eventually mean British students would have to pay even more for a university degree.