UK immigration cap: Indian, foreign students may be barred from studying in private colleges

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

LONDON - Tens of thousands of foreign students, including those hailing from India, may be barred from studying in British private colleges in the wake of the David Cameron-led government taking a decision to slash immigration and curb the growing abuse of the system.

Nearly half of all students coming here from abroad are coming to study a course below degree level, according to The Telegraph.

There has been a 40 per cent rise in suspect colleges in the last six months alone. A total of 56 education providers have had their licence to bring in foreign students revoked since March 2009 but 24 of those were since May this year. It means the number of suspect colleges is now running at 3.5 a month compared with 2.5 a month last year.

British Home Secretary Theresa May will launch a review of student visas amid concerns that almost half the migrants who come to study in the UK each year are not on degree courses but a range of lesser qualifications such as A-levels and even GCSEs.

May will question whether they are the “brightest and the best” that the country wants and will make them a key target for cutting numbers after pledging to protect those wanting to study degrees.

It comes as separate figures revealed there has been a 40 per cent rise in the number of bogus colleges, most of which offer non-degree or language courses.

The Home Secretary will announce the review as she unveils what the annual cap on migrant workers will be next year.

Along with other measures, the cap is expected to limit numbers arriving to around 40,000 and is the first move to meet David Cameron’s pledge of bringing overall net migration down from 196,000 to the “tens of thousands”.

Meanwhile, ministers have been put under pressure from university leaders and some Cabinet members who fear that restrictions on student numbers will damage the UK’s reputation as a world-leading centre for education, as well as cutting the lucrative funds brought in by foreign students.

However, around 130,000 foreign students who came in the year to March were not here to study degrees, almost half the near 280,000 non-EU students who arrived.

Of those, more than 90,000 attended a private college to study anything from GCSEs to vocational qualifications. Thousands more attended language schools.

The rest either attended established further education colleges or schools. (ANI)

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