Universities Back Plan To Curb Student Visa Abuse

Universities back plan to curb student visa abuse

Debbie Andalo
Wednesday July 26, 2006

Universities have welcomed the inclusion of a new points-based system for international students in the government's proposed overhaul of the immigration service, announced yesterday.
Universities UK, the body representing British universities, said the recommendations of the review confirm that higher education is not a high-risk area for immigration abuse.

The president of the organisation, Drummond Bone, said the review “should ensure that higher education is not associated with less reputable education providers”.

The Home Office report confirms that a points-based system for international students wishing to study in the UK will be introduced by April 2009.

Details of the new system are still subject to consultation but it is proposed that international students must be sponsored by a British college or university before they can enter the UK. Individual colleges and universities will also have responsibility for ensuring their students comply with visa regulations.

The review also recommends that a Home Office register of educational providers, which would include English language colleges and schools, be established.

Professor Bone said: “Universities UK welcomes the introduction of a register of education providers within the new points immigration system to ensure international students are not duped by bogus colleges and to prevent abuse of the student visa entry route into the UK.

“Such a register should assist with the eradication of bogus education providers and limit fraudulent student visa applications, while ensuring genuine applications are handled efficiently.”

He said international students wishing to study in the UK should find the new system more straightforward. Overseas students account for 14% of fulltime UK undergraduate and 43% of postgraduates.

Prof Drummond said that, by 2020, international students could be worth 20bn to the UK economy.

The Home Office report is the latest plank in the government's five-year asylum and immigration strategy.

Related articles
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01.11.2005: 'Don't blame us,' says minister
19.10.2005: Crisis looms for UK universities
18.10.2005: Visa staff 'turn away legitimate students'
02.08.2005: Ministers 'hampering' overseas student recruitment
04.07.2005: Universities look to exploit division over student visa plans
08.06.2005: Vice-chancellors condemn visa price rise
22.04.2005: Universities protest at plan to raise visa costs
22.02.2005: Students to take visa protest to No 10

14.02.2006: Randeep Ramesh: The Indians aren't coming
05.07.2005: Letters: Students at risk
07.06.2005: Mass instruction
30.11.2004: International pressure

Useful links
Universities UK
UK Visas