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UK Govt to abolish student work visa

This is an important piece of news for anyone thinking about going to UK to study and then find work.

Students from outside the European Union will be forced to go home after completing courses under plans to scrap visas which allow them to seek work.

The controversial post-study work route will be abolished and only "trusted" sponsors will be able to offer courses below degree level to adults.

And measures to ensure students return home following their studies will be introduced under the Home Office plans.

The proposals are part of a crackdown on abuses of the student visa system.

The majority of migrants from outside the UK are students - last year they accounted for two thirds of the visas issued under the points-based system.

We must be more selective about who can come here”

The government wants to reduce these numbers as it tries to fulfil its pledge to cut net migration from 200,000 to under 100,000 by 2015.

Immigration Minister Damian Green said: "I believe attracting talented students from abroad is vital to the UK but we must be more selective about who can come here and how long they can stay.

"People imagine students to be those who come here for a few years to study at university and then go home - that is not always the case.

"Too many students coming to study at below degree level have been coming here to live and work, rather than studying. We need to stop this abuse.

UK Border Agency | The student immigration system (December 2010 to January 2011)
BBC News - Student work search visa to be scrapped under plans
 
Wow; There is definitely no reason why people should go to the UK to study now. The Textbooks are the same in most countries, so the only reason people went to the UK would be a better chance of a good life.
 
Will be interesting to see how this works out, but I agree that depending on details it could make the UK a less appealing destination for potential students.

I think this is probably an overreaction to the current economic climate.
 
"The controversial post-study work route will be abolished and only "trusted" sponsors will be able to offer courses below degree level to adults."

Can someone elaborate this. Was planning to apply to LBS MBA this year
but not anymore.. :(
 
And does US Govt support such visas???? Is the student completing the course (BBA or MBA, MFE, etc) in US able to stay there to seek a job opportunity? Thanks Andy
 
If you like the course I wouldn't let that put you off. Also I presume a bank of similar could still sponsor you a visa if they think you are the right stuff?

These measures are really being aimed at the bogus colleges out there IMO. I remember reading an interview with a young lady from India who had applied to a course in the UK at a "business school". She turned up in London to find the business school was effectively a scam being run by a group of Sri Lankans who were targeting people from South Asia.
The result of this was, she was broke, getting no tuition and ended up working in a take out restaurant.
If they can put a stop to exploitation like this, then that is no bad thing. I just hope it doesn't put off smart kids from Asia who get offered places at Oxbridge.



"The controversial post-study work route will be abolished and only "trusted" sponsors will be able to offer courses below degree level to adults."

Can someone elaborate this. Was planning to apply to LBS MBA this year
but not anymore.. :(
 
BusinessBecause in association with Google and others recently organised a day-long UK Business Education Communication Conference. The very first panel discussion was on the current visa changes happening in the UK, with contributions from an immigration solicitor and others rallying for the government NOT to cap the immigration levels! You can read the whole detailed story on the BusinessBecause website at BusinessBecause - Business School News and Networking it'll be massively useful to those having questions about the changes and needing clarifications on what really is going on! There will be more stories, and videos too that will be posted on the site over the weekend/next week so keep checking it to get more information on what was decided and discussed by the panel!
 
I wouldn't blame the UK Govt for doing this as most of the universities over there are Graduate Factories for international students. I know a lot of Indian people who just go to do some mickey mouse course in UK to settle there, so this will definitely help in curbing that.

Though this will also prevent genuine students who want to study there as the return of investment would be really bad if they were told to leave after completing the course (atleast for Indian students).
 
UK BBC has a follow up article on the situation

Tougher rules for student visas
Tougher rules have been brought in to stop people abusing the student visa system to remain illegally in the UK.
Home Secretary Alan Johnson said 30% of migrants who came into the UK were on student visas and a number were adults taking short courses, not degrees.
Under the new rules, applicants will need to speak English to near-GCSE level and those on short courses will not be able to bring dependants.

The Tories said the system had been the "biggest hole in border controls".
The Home Office would not confirm reports the changes may cut visas issued this year by tens of thousands.

A spokesman said a review of student visas had been ordered in November. In 2008/9, about 240,000 student visas were issued by the UK.

News of the new measures comes a week after student visa applications from Nepal, northern India and Bangladesh were suspended amid a big rise in cases.

'Legitimate study'
Last year the UK introduced a system requiring students wishing to enter the country to secure 40 points under its criteria.

The biggest hole in the student visa system is caused by the Tory and Labour abolition of exit checks
Chris Huhne Lib Dem shadow home secretary

However, the government has faced criticism that this has allowed suspected terrorists and other would-be immigrants into the UK, only for them to stay on despite their visas being temporary.
Speaking on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show, the home secretary denied the system had been lax before.

"By 2011, we will have the most sophisticated system in the world to check people not just coming into the country but to check they have left as well," he said.

He said the UK remains open to those foreign students who want to come to the UK for legitimate study.

"We are the second most popular location for people going into higher education," he said.
"We have to be careful that we are not damaging a major part of the UK economy, between £5bn and £8bn."
Immigration Minister Phil Woolas told the BBC's Politics Show 200 bogus colleges had been closed.
"Students have foreign national identity cards. We have the e-Border counting in and counting out," he said.
"The latest proposals are a response to the moves by people who are trying to get round the system."

Under the measures, effective immediately:

• Successful applicants from outside the EU will have to speak English to a level only just below GCSE standard, rather than beginner level as at present
• Students taking courses below degree level will be allowed to work for only 10 hours a week, instead of 20 as at present
• Those on courses which last under six months will not be allowed to bring dependants into the country, while the dependants of students on courses below degree level will not be allowed to work
• Additionally, visas for courses below degree level with a work placement will also be granted only if the institutions they attend are on a new register, the Highly Trusted Sponsors List.
Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne said the UK needed to "restore immediately control of our borders".

Many of these students, if they are coming here using this route for illegal migration, will pay thousands of pounds to usually criminal gangs
Alan Johnson Home Secretary

"The biggest hole in the student visa system is caused by the Tory and Labour abolition of exit checks, which means we do not know if someone has left once their visa runs out," he said.
Conservative shadow home secretary Chris Grayling said the student visa system had been the "biggest hole in our border controls for a decade".

"Ministers should be ending the situation where a student visa is a way of coming to the UK to stay, by banning the practice of moving from course to course in order to stay on and stopping overseas students from applying for work permits without going home first," he said.
The party has also proposed that overseas students should pay a cash deposit which would be lost if they did not leave the country when their course finished.

And Conservative backbencher Mark Pritchard has gone further and proposed universities withhold degree certificates until foreign students can prove they have returned to their home countries.

But Mr Johnson said Mr Grayling's plan would just add another level of bureaucracy.
"Many of these students, if they are coming here using this route for illegal migration, will pay thousands of pounds to usually criminal gangs," he said.
"The thought of losing a bond is not going to solve this problem.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/uk_news/8502640.stm
 
I was planning to study MSc Finance at Imperial this year...How will this effect me? I am an Indian student. I certainly do need to work in the UK post my degree to pay back for the loans and then plan to return back...Seems like genuine students get the bad crunch too :-(
 
How about students completing MBA's/Mfin's at LBS? Majority of the batch is International.
So , does this mean that everyone returns to their native countries??
 
@andy : This article is more than an Year old.
Yes, you are correct. I have tried to find more updates about this situation
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/501633ac-2585-11e0-8258-00144feab49a.html
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/e82b241e-2953-11e0-ab2f-00144feab49a.html
University leaders support crackdowns on the abuse of student visas but object to efforts to cut foreign student numbers. Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of Universities UK, the higher education trade body, called the proposals “damaging and dangerous”.

Universities object to two proposals in particular: a tougher English test for would-be students and restrictions on the work visas available to ex-students at their end of their studies.
UK universities are heavily reliant on foreign students. In 2008-09, UK universities received a total of £2.2bn in fees from non-EEA students. This flow of payments, on its own, makes up 8.7 per cent of the sector’s income.

Prof Acton said that the tougher language requirements would prevent many students coming through intermediary “pathways”. He said “about half” of non-EEA students use these courses to gain access to British universities. Among other things, these courses raise students’ language skills to degree level.

There is also concern about the abolition of the “post-study work” visa scheme, which allows recent graduates to remain in the UK to work. The London School of Economics sent a letter to employers, highlighting this specific part of the plans as the “most alarming” segment of the proposals.

According to a survey of LSE international students cited in the document, the post-study work scheme was a “strong factor in encouraging international students to come to the UK rather than the US or Australia”.

The LSE letter also echoes concerns made by other sector leaders that the Home Office is using flawed data. Prof Acton asked the government to compile better information. “There’s at least £1bn at stake,” he said. “The universities will pay for the exercise.”
Seeing how people use the English courses to gain visa, abuse it and in the process feed these schools, it's easy to understand why they are up in arms against it. But at the same time, if they are serious about attracting top quality students who UK needs to compete globally, I don't see how this hurt in the long term.
 
Here is a letter that LBS sent to its current students

As non-EU students will be well aware, the Home Office is currently drafting reforms to Tier 1 General and Tier 2 visas. It is also in the consultation stage on reforms to Tier 4 and Tier 1 Post Study Work visas. The consultation is still underway, and there are still many unanswered questions, but we wanted to update you on what we know at this stage and what the School is doing to try and influence the situation.

Along with the Dean, we have met with the UK Border Agency and immigration lawyers to discuss the Home Office's consultation. We continue to work closely with recruiters to help them understand the potential consequences of the changes.

Although it is not definite at this stage, it looks likely that there will be a phased introduction of the new arrangements. If the Tier 1 Post Study Work visa is discontinued, it seems probable that those graduating in 2011 will not be affected. The School will lobby for this change to be phased in over a longer period to try and ensure that those graduating in subsequent years will not be impacted, but there is no certainty at this stage. Another major focus for the School is lobbying for students who are already on a Tier 4 visa to be able to transfer to a sponsored Tier 2 visa without counting towards the employer's cap.

The School and the Student Association have each prepared a response to the Home Office's consultation document, detailing our arguments against the proposed reforms. The consultation period closes on Monday 31 January.

Immigration lawyer briefing session

Fragomen, a leading immigration law firm, will be holding a further briefing session for students to update you on the latest developments. This session has been provisionally booked for Friday 18 February - please look out for more details and reserve your place on Career Central.

To see copies of past communications about the immigration reforms, please visit Portal > Career Services home page > Visa/immigration.

Please rest assured that the School is taking this issue extremely seriously and working hard to ensure the Home Office really understands our concerns. We will continue to update you as soon as more information becomes available.

Best wishes,
 
I think this will end up hurting the UK over the long run. Many of the foreign students I met during my masters wanted to live/work in Europe or the US, and getting a graduate degree was a step towards that. But with no post-study work visas and the slow improvement of universities in places such as China, I think fewer students will go to the UK.

Now of course if the UK wants to reduce the number of educated foreigners living in the country, then this is probably a move in the right direction.
 
Yes, you are correct. I have tried to find more updates about this situation
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/501633ac-2585-11e0-8258-00144feab49a.html
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/e82b241e-2953-11e0-ab2f-00144feab49a.html

Seeing how people use the English courses to gain visa, abuse it and in the process feed these schools, it's easy to understand why they are up in arms against it.

The gist of the matter is that with further cutbacks -- quite draconian ones -- in government support to universities, they are even more dependent on foreign students to stay afloat. But to attract these students they need to provide some incentives for post-study work. I am of course talking of bona fide universities and not august institutions like the Walthamstow College of International Marketing or the Barking College of Global Finance.

Immigration to the EU -- regardless of skills -- is becoming ever more difficult, with Europeans like Sarrazin, Merkel, Sarkozy and now Cameron making anti-immigrant noises. British parties like the UKIP and BNP are vociferously against any kind of immigration and the present economic climate makes anti-immigrant prejudice yet more acute. For example, there is a recent headline in the Daily Express announcing that one migrant arrives in the UK every minute -- conveniently glossing over the fact that most of these are Polish or other East Europeans. They're designed to provoke alarm, to sensationalise, and to pander to anti-immigrant hysteria, which exists at a level not seen in the USA. So prospective migrants -- regardless of skill level -- have a severe uphill battle. Frankly I don't think it's worth it.
 
Of course one of the problems with the EU, unlike the US is that it isn't really a huge single market yet. Britain, Germany, France and a few other countries take in the vast amount of immigrants, primarily because that is where the jobs are and secondly because in the case of Britain, France, Spain and Portugal, many of the immigrants speak these languages (coming from former colonies).

However Britain being an island for example has limited land and resources, forcing the cost of living ever upwards. It's primarily this which is helping to fuel the BNP and similar. Access to housing, loss of countryside, depression of wages and cost of living increases etc. are fueling the rise of the far right. Of course parties like the BNP capitalize on this and use fear mongering to get into office.
If Europe's immigration was more evenly spread then I think there would be less of a problem. This means Eastern Europe becoming a viable destination and attracting internal EU migrants as well as external migrants.

However Europeans need to get past their petty loathing of one another on national levels (which plays out in EU politics as well as national) and pathetic squabbling over history - something which has come along a good way, but not far enough yet.
 
However Britain being an island for example has limited land and resources, forcing the cost of living ever upwards. It's primarily this which is helping to fuel the BNP and similar. Access to housing, loss of countryside, depression of wages and cost of living increases etc. are fueling the rise of the far right. Of course parties like the BNP capitalize on this and use fear mongering to get into office.

An article in the Guardian which gives a sign of the times:

Huge numbers of Britons would support an anti-immigration English nationalist party if it was not associated with violence and fascist imagery, according to the largest survey into identity and extremism conducted in the UK.

A Populus poll found that 48% of the population would consider supporting a new anti-immigration party committed to challenging Islamist extremism, and would support policies to make it statutory for all public buildings to fly the flag of St George or the union flag.

The poll suggests that the level of backing for a far-right party could equal or even outstrip that in countries such as France, the Netherlands and Austria. ...

According to the survey, 39% of Asian Britons, 34% of white Britons and 21% of black Britons wanted all immigration into the UK to be stopped permanently, or at least until the economy improved. And 43% of Asian Britons, 63% of white Britons and 17% of black Britons agreed with the statement that "immigration into Britain has been a bad thing for the country". Just over half of respondents – 52% – agreed with the proposition that "Muslims create problems in the UK".
 
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