UK to crack down on suspect migrant student visa rise

August 2nd, 2010 - 1:46 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Aug.2 (ANI): The British Home Office has decided to conduct a review of student visas after a controversial surge in numbers raised fears that the new points-based application system is providing a back door entry to the country for bogus pupils.Whitehall has for the time being said that visas for students from Pakistan and Nepal are suspended because of this large rise.

In the 12 months since the new scheme was introduced students coming to the UK from non-EU countries jumped by more than 75,000.

According to Sky News, Home Office figures showed that 313,011 non-EU students were granted visas, bringing with them 31,385 dependants.

Immigration minister Damian Green said a “thorough evaluation” of the system would be conducted over the coming months in order to minimise abuse.

Green added: “We are committed to attracting the brightest and the best to the UK, and welcome legitimate students coming here for study. However, in the past there has been significant abuse of the student route, and we need to ensure that every student who comes to the UK is genuine.”

A Home Office spokesman said no details were yet available of the scope and remit of the review.

According to The Telegraph, the rise in visas is a fallout of the introduction of Labour’s points-based immigration system which was supposed to made it harder for unskilled immigrants to come to Britain.

Many students enter Britain to take legitimate degrees, with universities increasingly seeing them as a lucrative source of income at a time of cuts to higher education budgets.

Recent research showed that as many as a third of universities were preparing to increase the number of foreign undergraduates they admit from September.

As well as attending traditional universities, tens of thousands of foreign students have been admitted to 600 “lower tier” colleges, at which it is easier to gain a place but which are still accredited to hand out bachelor degrees.

About 4,000 illegal immigrants are also thought to have taken advantage of bogus colleges to slip into the country. (ANI)

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