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How viable is studying in the UK?

Tightened visa regulations left hundreds of Indian students stranded after the sudden closure of a London B-school

education Updated: Oct 25, 2011 17:34 IST
Pooja Biraia

Kailash Deoli, 23, an MBA student at TASMAC business school was shocked when instead of receiving the examination results of his second semester MBA programme, he received an email saying that the school had shut down, and that students would no longer be required to attend school the next day. “I thought it was a prank at first, then confirmed if others in the school had also received the email. We were all in a state of shock and didn’t know what to expect next,” says Deoli, one of the 550-odd students who were left stranded following the shutting down of Training and Advanced Studies in Management and Communications (TASMAC)’s London campus by the UK Border Agency (UKBA).

Citing the UK’s efforts to tighten norms with respect to tier-4 student visas as the primary reason for the closure, Sameer Dua, director of TASMAC, said, “The visa restrictions announced earlier this year have badly impacted TASMAC and many private institutes in the UK. Since then there has been a significant fall in the number of Indian students applying to the UK for higher education.”

Two main changes that have caused this impact are that from April 2012 onwards, a graduate student studying at a private university in Britain not recognised by the UK Border Agency will no longer be able to avail the post-study work visa; two, that students studying in private institutes will not be allowed to work part-time either.

Highly trusted list: The UKBA announced that April 2012 onwards, all British institutions wanting to sponsor foreign students would have to be classed as a Highly Trusted Sponsor by it and would need to be inspected by an approved educational oversight body by the end of 2012 as a way to ensure that overseas students are not made offers to cheat their way to UK degrees and work visas. This means that students who are looking to study in the UK for the 2012 academic year must look up those institutes that are a part of the UKBA list as it ensures that only those education providers with a proven track record in immigration compliance are licensed to sponsor international students. “This is the only way they would get the student visa and moreover, the credentials of such universities will be verified by the UKBA and students will be ensured of quality education,” said Kanika Marwaha, India representative, University of Warwick.

The current job scenario: “I have the post-study work visa that is valid for two years, but there is no job in the market, hence I’m currently freelancing,” says Rikhil Bahadur, 23, who completed his post-graduate degree in film and television direction at the University of Westminster in January 2011. Indeed, 2011 has been the year of the highest unemployment rate in the UK, says counsellor Pratibha Jain. “Many students are now opting to come back to India to work instead of wasting time looking for a job in the UK. More than 30 students of the 50 students we sent abroad for higher studies last year have now come back to work in Indian companies,” she says. And with the Tier-4 visa changes, the scene looks much more bleaker, says Gagan Gomani, head counsellor, Edwise International. “Several students are forced to come back to India now,” he says.

Background
The Pune-based Tasmac Group that offered BA (Hons) and MBA degrees closed its business school in London on October 6, 2011, leaving the future of more than 500 students in jeopardy. Citing the changes to the tier-4 student visas as the reason for the closure, the institute said it would facilitate the transfer of students to colleges affiliated to the University of Wales or students could continue their studies at one of the institute’s campuses in India

We are stranded. We neither have a degree nor the money to pay the fees to take admission to another college Kailashi Deoli, former TASMAC student