The new Home Secretary Amber Rudd has unveiled a slew of new immigration policies that will hit international students as well as British companies employing migrants.
Among the policies is a two-tier visa system that will divide universities and courses according to “quality” and forcing businesses to make public the number of foreigners they employ.
The new policy on foreign students continues the David Cameron government’s crackdown on students from outside the European Union.
Ms Rudd said that she wants to ensure the “quality of universities, colleges and courses” will be maintained by ensuring a tiered system for visas.
It is part of the Conservatives’ plan to reduce net migration – which currently runs at 327,000 – to the tens of thousands.
Ms Rudd also announced that various government departments – such as the DVLA – would be required to carry out mandatory immigration status checks under new legislation set to be introduced in December, adding to the checks that landlords are required to make before taking on new tenants.
The Home Secretary’s comments come after the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt revealed that new restrictions would be placed on the recruitment of foreign doctors to the NHS.
Ms Rudd’s new tiered student visa system would include provisions on a student’s right to bring their families to the UK, their right to work, post study work and new English language tests – all of which would be tied to the quality of the course and the university they apply to.
Rudd said the current system allowed favourable employment prospects to all students, irrespective of their talents and the university’s quality.
The Home Secretary also aims to revamp the way in which British firms employ foreign workers, saying it had become a “box ticking exercise” which allowed companies to get away with not training local people.
“We won’t win in the world if we don’t do more to upskill our own workforce. It’s not fair on companies doing the right thing. So I want us to look again at whether our immigration system provides the right incentives for businesses to invest in British workers,” she said.