Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 26 November 2014

Foreign student ban on 450 colleges

The Government will crack down on colleges bringing foreign students into the UK
The Government will crack down on colleges bringing foreign students into the UK

More than 450 colleges have been banned from bringing foreign students into the UK under Government plans to crack down on abuse of the immigration system.

The colleges, which either failed to sign up to the new inspection system or had their licences revoked, could have brought more than 11,000 international students into the UK each year, the Home Office said.

Some could not produce any records of student attendance, others failed to show they checked student qualifications and another could not even produce a list of students enrolled or a timetable of classes.

Immigration minister Damian Green said widespread abuse of the student visa system, the most common way for migrants from outside the EU to get into the UK, had gone on for too long.

"The changes we have made are beginning to bite," Mr Green said.

"Too many institutions were offering international students an immigration service rather than an education and too many students have come to the UK with the aim of getting work and bringing over family members.

"Only first-class education providers should be given licences to sponsor international students. We have curbed the opportunities to work during study and bring in family members.

"We have also introduced new language requirements to ensure we only attract genuine students whose primary motivation is to study."

Labour home affairs spokesman Chris Bryant said: "It obviously makes sense to tackle abuse of the student visa system, but no matter how many speeches the Government make or press releases they issue, our border security is completely undermined by their decision to cut over 5,000 staff from the UK Borders Agency.

"It is just dangerously naive to think that our borders will be more safe with fewer people protecting them."

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