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UK to launch crackdown on student visas

world Updated: Sep 06, 2010 19:49 IST

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The David Cameron government is expected to announce a new crackdown on non-EU students, including Indians, after a new research found that more than one-fifth of people who arrived in Britain on student visas in 2004 were still in the country five years later.

Among the measures likely to be introduced is a bond at the time of applying for a student visa.

The bond amount would be returned after the student returns to the country of origin after completing courses in Britain.

The crackdown is expected to have its impact on India, where the government had suspended issuing students visas in the northern states following an inordinately large number of applications were received.

Immigration Minister Damian Green, who is expected to outline the new measures in a speech tonight, said: "The limits we've already set among those on work visas are necessary but not sufficient. We need to look at other routes."

He added: "We can see that 186,000 [international students] came in in 2004 and by 2009 more than 20 per cent of them were still here. Student numbers have risen fast. In the year to June 2010, 300,000 visas were issued to students and their dependents. If a fifth of those are still here in five years' time, they are very high numbers."

The Home Office released a report, titled A Migrant's Journey.

Green said his department had also discovered that of the overseas students who were granted visas, "half do not fit with everyone's image of the hard-working student in higher education".

He added: "People think that they are the very brightest and the best, but we have discovered that only half are studying degree-level courses. Half are coming to study sub-degree courses.There are questions to be asked about whether the student route is just for the brightest and the best and whether this is the best use of our training system."

There were 281,000 non-EU students approved to study at educational establishments licensed by the UK Border Agency last year.

The Home Office has estimated that 150,000 were at degree level and above, mostly at universities, while 131,000 were at sub-degree level, mostly at privately funded institutions.