Consultation closed on UK visas for students

03 Feb 2011 | Posted by Carl Thomas

The government consultation on Tier 4 visas is now closed.

The government consultation regarding UK visas for students closed at the end of last month (January).

Running for two months, the consultation received over 30,000 responses regarding a number of suggestions designed to reduce the overall number of students able to come to the UK.

Among these proposals was the option to lower the number of people able to enter the country with a UK visa to study at below degree level.

A tougher English language retirement and imposing a limit on students' entitlements to work were also put forward in the paper.

Immigration minister Damian Green closed the debate speaking to the think tank Reform.

At a conference in London he focused on the privately-funded further education sector in particular, explaining that it is "subject to less regulation and is more open to abuse".

Mr Green added: "We want to make sure that every student who comes to this country is a legitimate student following a legitimate course."

Around 273,000 UK visas were issued to students in 2009, with a further 30,000 issued to their dependants, according to Mr Green. The minister explained that this makes the student route the largest source of UK immigration.

Earlier this week, it was suggested that the consultation on student visas could be unlawful.

Law firm Penningtons suggested that it was unclear what the coalition wished to achieve with the consultation, mentioning that they may have used misleading data to support their points.