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Visa rules to curb foreign students

The number of foreign students and their dependants coming to Britain could be cut by around 100,000 a year under plans unveiled by the Government.

Home Secretary Theresa May said the "radical" clampdown would close fake colleges and block entry for those who cannot speak good English.

There will also be tougher restrictions on non-EU students staying in the country after their course finishes - including a rule that they must find a job that pays at least £20,000 a year.

Mrs May told MPs that while the coalition wanted to attract the "brightest and best" to the UK, the visa system became "broken" under Labour.

"This package will stop the bogus students, studying meaningless courses at fake colleges," she said.

"It will protect our world-class institutions. It will stop the abuse that became all too common under Labour. And it will restore some sanity to our student visa system."

She said she expected the measures would reduce the number of student visas issued by 70,000-80,000 annually - equivalent to a 25% fall.

But shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper accused her opposite number of placing restrictions on student visas in one area while increasing them in another area that did not count towards net migration targets.

While Labour wished to see migration "properly controlled", she said it was important to recognise the importance of higher and further education to the economy as an export industry.

She called on Mrs May to make policies that were "in the interests of British universities, in the interests of the British economy and in the interests of a sensible, controlled migration policy, rather than taking risks with an important export industry for the sake of promises she knows she can't keep".


From Belfast Telegraph