Home Secretary Theresa May is to bring in even more restrictions for international students, days after announcing a raft of new measures that will impact on students from outside the European Union.
Days after announcing that, beginning November, foreign students will have to leave the UK after completing their studies and announcing restrictions on the amount of hours students can work, Mrs May is now considering raising the minimum amount of money that student visa applicants need to declare
BBC Newsnight cites a confidential letter written by Mrs May in which she argues that universities should not depend on international students for a big chunk of their funding.
Earlier this week, May announced foreign students will be forced to leave the UK after they graduate and will not be allowed to work part time.
The National Union of Students’ international officer, Mostafa Rajaai slammed the news.
“It seems Theresa May’s exclusive international students’ club may change its door policy again in order to suit the richest and most privileged. We are in no doubt it is part of a much wider attempt to impinge on migrants’ rights in the UK.
“The International Passenger Survey (IPS), which the government relies on for its immigration statistics, is a fundamentally flawed and inaccurate method of monitoring migrant numbers. Policy-makers’ reliance on these figures is a triumph of ideology over evidence.”
Under other rules considered by Mrs May, education visas will be cut from three years down to two, and students will be prevented from extending their studies in the UK unless they are registered at an institution with “a formal link to a university”.
Immigration Minister James Brokenshire said the changes will “further protect the UK’s reputation for educational excellence”.
“Immigration offenders want to sell illegal access to the UK jobs market – and there are plenty of people willing to buy,” he said in a statement. “Hard-working taxpayers who are helping to pay for publicly-funded colleges expect them to be providing top-class education, not a back door to a British work visa.
“Our reforms — which include introducing English language testing, removing sponsorship rights from hundreds of bogus colleges, and restricting students’ access to the jobs market — are all of our plan to control immigration for the benefit of Britain.”
Around 121,000 non-EU students arrived in the UK from June 2013-14, while only 51,000 are recorded as having left, a net inflow of 70,000.
Last week, business secretary Sajid Javid said international students should “study [here].. and then leave”.
Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of Universities UK, said: “Higher education is one of the UK’s success stories, so it is vital that we present a welcoming environment for talented international students and staff. This is increasingly what our competitors are doing.”