Under new student visa rules, Home Secretary Alan Johnson hopes to close the door to “tens of thousands” of purported international students.
According to BBC News, the new student visa rules do not require legislation and come into effect immediately. They include:
- a requirement that students from outside the EU speak English to near-GCSE level, rather than beginner level;
- a 10 hour part-time work limit on students taking below degree-level courses (instead of a 20 hour limit);
- banning students enrolled on courses lasting less than six months bringing dependants with them;
- banning dependants of students on below degree-level courses working; &
- only granting student visas for courses below degree-level to institutions on a new register, the Highly Trusted Sponsors List.
The Guardian newspaper quotes Mr. Johnson as saying:
“We created our points-based system so that we could respond quickly to changing circumstances when necessary to raise the bar students have to meet to come to the UK.
“We remain open to those foreign students who want to come to the UK for legitimate study ? they remain welcome. But those who are not seriously interested in coming here to study but come primarily to work, they should be in no doubt that we will come down hard on those that flout the rules. I make no apologies for strengthening an already robust system.”
And speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Mr. Johnson rejected Tory proposals for students to pay a cash deposit which they would lose if they fail to leave the UK when their courses are over:
“Many of these students, if they are coming here using this route for illegal migration, will pay thousands of pounds to usually criminal gangs. The thought of losing a bond is not going to solve this problem.”
** UK immigration rules – additional information & advice **
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