UK to impose new curbs on non-EU students

Migration of int`l students is worth 5 bn pounds to UK economy annually.

Updated: Feb 03, 2011, 00:34 AM IST

London: Britain is likely to impose new
restrictions before granting visas to students from India and
other non-EU countries as part of the Prime Minister David
Cameron government`s promise to reduce immigration and curb
visa abuse.

Current rules allow non-EU students to work for two
years after completion of their courses. This is likely to be
restricted as Immigration minister Damian Green considers the
outcome of a consultation exercise on this issue.

The migration of international students is worth 5
billion pounds to the UK economy annually.

Elaborating on the alleged abuse of the student visa
system, Green said in a speech last night that non-EU students
could not be allowed unfettered access to the UK labour market
amidst growing unemployment in Britain.

He said: "The post study work route was intended to
form a bridge between study and skilled work, allowing all
international graduates to remain for two years after
graduation. Many go into secretarial, sales, customer service
and catering roles. At a time when graduate unemployment is at
its highest level for seventeen years we need a more targeted

He added: "To allow unfettered access to the jobs
market for two years to anyone with a student visa from abroad
is putting an unnecessary extra strain on our own graduates".

Green is expected to crack down on this post-study
work route.

He also presented details of alleged abuse of the
student visa system by colleges in the private sector that did
not have the necessary facilities or academic standing to
offer courses.

"In one, no classroom study was being undertaken.
Instead students were being sent on so-called work placements
in locations up to 280 miles away from the college where they
were supposed to be studying on a regular basis. They were
working excessive hours," Green said.

"In another case, students were found working in 20
different locations and undertaking no study time. The work
placements, which were supposed to be in the health and social
care sector, included jobs as a cleaner in a pizza chain and
as a hairdresser. The college was also employing a worker
illegally on a fake British passport. In another case, there
were 2 lecturers for 940 students," he added.

Green recalled that in June last year in New Delhi, 35
per cent of student applications verified by the visa section
were found to contain forged documents.