Universities may be ‘made responsible for ensuring non-EU students leave UK’

09 Nov 2015 | Posted by Carl Thomas

Home Secretary Theresa May is understood to be planning to ask universities to make sure overseas students leave the UK at the end of their courses, according to reports.

New checks were introduced earlier this year for people leaving Britain and it is believed they will be used to monitor those non-EU nationals in the UK on a student visa.

Universities which fail to ensure their students leave at the end of their courses could face sanctions such as limits on their rights to recruit more students from non-EU countries, the Times Higher Education (THE) reported.

UK Council for International Student Affairs chief executive, Dominic Scott, said: “After a student has left a university, he or she no longer has a contractual relationship with that university.

“You can’t see how a university could even enforce a data collection of when a student had left the country. So you can’t see how a university could be made responsible for a student leaving the country.”

The idea of asking universities to monitor whether international students leave as per their visa requirements was originally included in the Conservative Party manifesto ahead of this year’s General Election.

It said that introducing exit checks “will allow us to place more responsibility on visa sponsors for migrants who overstay, we will introduce targeted sanctions for those colleges or businesses that fail to ensure that migrants comply with the terms of their visa”.

Although the THE said it understood there was “no imminent” plan to put the new responsibilities in place, it believes that Home Office officials have already spoken to universities about the proposals.

Mrs May also spoke about the issue during her speech to the Conservative Party conference, in which she claimed too many international students were failing to return to their native countries at the end of the UK study visa.