Tuesday, December 07, 2010

UK plans student visa shake-up

Overseas students in Britain wanting to stay on and look for work after their courses end will no longer be able to do so under government plans to curb immigration laid out on Tuesday. Hundreds of thousands of overseas students study at British universities each year, most from China, India and Ireland, with numbers reaching record levels in 2009.

The government wants to tighten controls on entry visas for overseas students to address concerns that illegal immigrants are using them as an easy way to get into the country. "This government wants high calibre students with the genuine desire to study to come to our country for temporary periods, and then return home," said Immigration Minister Damian Green.

An overhaul of the student visa system would reduce the number of people entering Britain to study below degree level, as well as toughen English language requirements and limit students' rights to work. "Attracting talented students from abroad is vital to the UK but we must be more selective about who can come here and how long they can stay," Green said. "Too many students coming to study at below degree level have been coming here to live and work... We need to stop this abuse."

The student route currently accounts for two-thirds of migrants entering the country each year. If the government's proposals are passed, students will have to leave the country and apply for a new visa to further their studies.

Source: The Economic Times (Online Edition), December 7, 2010
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