Monday, September 06, 2010

Britain to announce student visas crackdown

Britain is to outline a crackdown on people arriving on student visas Monday as it bids to tighten its immigration system, described by a minister as "largely out of control". Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative party has promised to cut net migration from hundreds of thousands to tens of thousands annually.

Shortly after taking power in May as head of a coalition government, Cameron introduced an annual cap on the number of economic migrants from outside the European Union. Immigration Minister Damian Green said the government had inherited a system which was "largely out of control" and described the number of foreign students being let in as "unsustainable", in comments quoted by the BBC. In a speech Monday, he is to call for "smarter immigration controls," according to extracts pre-released by the Home Office.

New Home Office research has revealed that of 186,000 foreign students granted visas in 2004, more than one-fifth were still in Britain five years later. Officials fear many may be working illegally. The number of visas being issued to students and their dependants had risen to over 300,000 by this year, the figures added.

Green will say that Britain needs "smarter immigration controls -- controls which bear down on the numbers coming and welcome those we really need here." He will add: "We cannot assume that everyone coming here has skills that the UK workforce cannot offer and we will not make Britain prosperous in the long-term by telling our own workers not to bother to learn new skills as we can bring them all in from overseas."

In separate comments to the Daily Mail newspaper, he added that while the cap on migrants had been "controversial," it was not in itself enough to cut net migration. He added: "I want a student visa system which encourages the entry of good students to highly trusted institutions but which scrutinises much more closely or cuts out entirely those who are less beneficial to this country."

Source: The Economic Times, September 6, 2010

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