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UK to launch crackdown on student visas

Last Updated: Tuesday, September 7, 2010 - 00:55

London: The David Cameron government is
expected to announce a new crackdown on non-EU students,
including Indians, after a new research found that more than
one-fifth of people who arrived in Britain on student visas in
2004 were still in the country five years later.

Among the measures likely to be introduced is a bond at
the time of applying for a student visa.

The bond amount would be returned after the student
returns to the country of origin after completing courses in
Britain.

The crackdown is expected to have its impact on India,
where the government had suspended issuing students visas in
the northern states following an inordinately large number of
applications were received.

Immigration minister Damian Green, who is expected to
outline the new measures in a speech tonight, said: "The
limits we`ve already set among those on work visas are
necessary but not sufficient. We need to look at other
routes."

He added: "We can see that 186,000 [international
students] came in in 2004 and by 2009 more than 20 per cent of
them were still here. Student numbers have risen fast. In the
year to June 2010, 300,000 visas were issued to students and
their dependents. If a fifth of those are still here in five
years` time, they are very high numbers."

The Home Office released a report, titled `A Migrant`s
Journey`.

Green said his department had also discovered that of the
overseas students who were granted visas, "half do not fit
with everyone`s image of the hard-working student in higher
education".

He added: "People think that they are the very brightest
and the best, but we have discovered that only half are
studying degree-level courses. Half are coming to study
sub-degree courses.There are questions to be asked about
whether the student route is just for the brightest and the
best and whether this is the best use of our training system."

There were 281,000 non-EU students approved to study at
educational establishments licensed by the UK Border Agency
last year.

The Home Office has estimated that 150,000 were at degree
level and above, mostly at universities, while 131,000 were at
sub-degree level, mostly at privately funded institutions.

PTI

First Published: Tuesday, September 7, 2010 - 00:55
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