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US pressure behind UK visa cuts

Britain's decision on Sunday to tighten border controls and reduce the flow of people entering the country as students by potentially tens of thousands a year was partly a consequence of U.S. terror concerns.

world Updated: Feb 09, 2010 00:41 IST

Britain's decision on Sunday to tighten border controls and reduce the flow of people entering the country as students by potentially tens of thousands a year was partly a consequence of U.S. terror concerns.

Though the new restrictions will apply to everyone, the primary focus appears to be the Indian subcontinent and countries in the Arab and Muslim world, both because of the large numbers of fake applicants who originate there and because of concerns about combating terrorism by Islamic extremists.

The controls appeared to have been drawn up, in part, to meet American pressure for a tougher British approach to combating terrorist threats.

British officials announcing the new controls made no reference to the failed Christmas bombing attempt of a U.S. airliner over Detroit by a Nigerian who had spent three years as a UK student, and noted that the policy review that prompted the new restrictions had been ordered in November, before the airliner bombing attempt. They said their main concern lay in stopping the abuse of student visas by people seeking to find jobs and settle in Britain.