Foreign students play a big role in the UK's cultural and economic wealth and help make the country's education sector one of the finest in the world. In 2008, tuition fees from international students totalled over £2.5 billion. Earlier this year, however, the government completely overhauled the immigration system - including the rules for obtaining international student visas.
To obtain a visa under the new points-based immigration system, foreign students must prove that they can afford their tuition fees 28 days before they apply, secure at least £600 a month to pay living expenses (and £400 a month for each dependant), and keep it all in a bank account in their own name for the first year of their study. They also need a biometric identity card and must have received their exam results by the time they apply.
Many in the education sector feel the new rules are too stringent and put people off studying in the UK. Diana Warwick, chief executive of Universities UK, says:
"We know the UK Border Agency (UKBA) is working hard to ≠process applications in ... We remain concerned, however, that the system may delay or deter international students who wish to study in the UK. This is our busiest period for student visa applications and there are worrying indications of problems with the operation of the system overseas."
Indeed, the Guardian estimates up to 20% fewer foreign students will enroll at UK universities this autumn, compared with what was expected for this year.
** Additional Information & Advice **
Depending on the circumstances of your case, however, it may be better to speak with a solicitor who specialises in immigration law. You can be matched with a solicitor for free via solicitor matching services, which can also help you to understand the best course of action for your situation and whether you are ready to hire a solicitor.