UK visa changes 'to impact student numbers'

03 Jan 2011 | Posted by Carl Thomas

Proposed changes to UK visas could have a negative impact impact on certain cities and universities in the UK.

Recent comments from a spokesman for the University of Sunderland have suggested that towns with a large contingency of students could struggle if the changes are implemented.

"This process is literally only at the consultation stage, but the higher education sector will be making its views known," the university representative told the Sunderland Echo.

"However, this has the potential to limit the number of internationals coming to study in the UK."

The proposed changes to UK visa applications include measures to toughen English language requirements as part of a crackdown on illegal immigrants. Furthermore, students' potential to work while studying and after graduation is likely to be limited.

In addition, the government is considering reducing the number of people coming to the UK to study at below degree level.

According to the Home Office, around 41 per cent of students currently entering the country through the Tier 4 UK visa system and studying courses below degree level.

UK immigration minister Damian Green stated that the country needs to be "more selective" regarding who is permitted to enter the country on a student visa and how long they can stay for.

"People imagine students to be those who come here for a few years to study at university and then go home - that is not always the case," he added.

"Too many students coming to study below degree level have been coming here to live and work, rather than studying. We need to stop this abuse."

The government is currently running a consultation regarding student visas to gather opinions before confirming and enforcing the changes.