UK Announced Tougher rules for foreign students
10 February 2010
Foreign students from outside Europe wanting to come to the UK to study will be required to meet stricter entry criteria, the Home Secretary announced today.
The new regulations will ensure that students studying below degree level have a limited ability to work in the UK, and that their dependants cannot work here at all.
It will be even harder for bogus students, whose only aim is to work in the UK, to come into the country.
Home Secretary Alan Johnson also confirmed that the government will implement plans to introduce a points test by 2011 for those who wish to earn British citizenship.
The new measures for students include:
- a good standard of English (equivalent of holding just below a GCSE in a foreign language) will be needed to come to the UK and study to improve English language competency further;
- a good standard of English (again equivalent of holding just below a GCSE in a foreign language) will need to be demonstrated in order to study any other course below degree level;
- restricting the lowest-level courses (A levels and equivalent) to only the most trusted institutions;
- halving the amount of time a student studying below first degree level or on a foundation degree course will be able to work, to just 10 hours during term time;
- a ban on bringing in dependants for anyone studying a course for less than six months; and
- a ban on dependants of anyone studying a course lower than foundation or undergraduate degree level from working - they will face removal from the UK if found doing so.
Alan Johnson said:
"The points-based system was introduced to provide a rigorous system to manage legitimate access to the UK to work and study, with the ability to respond to changing circumstances. "
"We want foreign students to come here to study, not to work illegally, and today we have set out necessary steps which will maintain the robustness of the system we introduced last year. I make no apologies for that."
In addition, the new measures will include:
- a ban on foreign students studying below degree level if the course includes a work placement - unless that course is being provided by a university, college or training provider which has the status of "highly trusted sponsor";
- a requirement for students to demonstrate their English language ability by passing an approved secure test - this will apply to all students studying below (foundation) degree level, including those coming to study English language; and
- the introduction of tougher criteria for defining which course providers count as "highly trusted sponsors" of foreign students. We expect that all publicly funded universities and colleges will count as highly trusted, and we will ensure that there is a rapid but rigorous system for ensuring that private training colleges can also gain that status as soon as possible.