12 January 2010
Conservatives detail their plan for UK Student Visas
Shadow home secretary Chris Grayling has proposed a new plan to regulate the UK Student Visa system, which could see major changes and the potential tightening of rules if approved.
Overseas students provide a large amount of capital for education providers, and the sector has grown considerably. In 2008-09 the government issued 236,470 UK Student Visas, while a decade earlier only 69,607 were issued.
Student visas now represent three-quarters of the visas issued under the UK immigration points-based system that was introduced in 2008.
However, Grayling’s proposal would see a tightening of UK Visa rules for students, including requirements for some student applicants to hand over an annual £2,000 bond and a tightening of the colleges entitled to sponsor students as well as a ban on students switching courses in the country.
Under the proposed immigration plan:
Only higher education institutions registered at Companies House would be entitled to fast-track students through the visa process;
Foreign students in non-recognised educational bodies would be required to pay a bond of £1,000-£2,000, repaid in installments at the end of each academic year;
Rules would be tightened to prevent student applicants borrowing money to prove they are financially independent; AND
Students would be required to leave the UK after their course in order to apply for a graduate work visa.