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Overseas students face #155 fee to stay on

The Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge University, Sir Alec Broers, has accused the Government of exploiting overseas students by imposing large fees for extending their visas. This would tarnish the international image of the country and is against Tony Blair's drive to encourage overseas students to come to Britain, Sir Broers said.

india Updated: Jan 09, 2004 12:46 IST

The Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge University, Sir Alec Broers, has accused the Government of exploiting overseas students by imposing large fees for extending their visas. This would tarnish the international image of the country and is against Tony Blair's drive to encourage overseas students to come to Britain, Sir Broers said.

Under the new charges introduced by the Home Office, without any consultation with higher education establishments, an estimated half a million overseas students seeking extension of stay in Britain will face a charge of £155 or £250. An Indian student, depending for funds from India, would have to cough out a minimum of Rs 12000.

The charges will not apply to families of European Economic Area nationals, that in effect means only the students and families from the Indian subcontinent and other Third World countries are being made to take the burden of saving £90 million for the Exchequer. The same fee will be charged to people applying for settlement and to anyone wanting a permanent residency stamp put in a new passport.

The university authorities said that the Home Office announced the new charges at a time when most students were not in residence, so there was little time to prepare advice for them. The charges come into force this month.

A few Indian students, who have stayed back during the holidays, said that as it is they have to pay on an average £7500 a year in fee and another around £2000 for hostel as compared to £1050 tuition fee for British students. The Indians who are on employment visas will suffer the most, because their children are treated as overseas students. The new visa charges will now add to their woes.

Sir Broers has written to Home Secretary David Blunkett criticising the charge as unfair burden. "We can conclude that such high charges can be seen as exploitation of international students."

First Published: Jan 09, 2004 12:46 IST