There has been a fall in the number of non-European Union students permitted to remain in the UK to work or continue studying, according to new figures.
The number of study extensions granted for student visas in the 12 months to March dropped by around a quarter. A total of 74,760 visa extensions were approved for students during the year, with study extensions making up more than eight out of 10.
The other extensions were mainly visas to work in Britain, such as internship and graduate entrepreneurship visas, including more than 5,600 Tier 2 visas for skilled workers, granted to students who had job offers in the UK. The number of Tier 2 visas given to students rose by around a third on the previous year, while entrepreneurship and internship visa approvals were up by 13 per cent.
However, the Home Office figures showed that a fall in applications for further education led to an overall drop in the number of study extensions that were backed by institutions. These make up the majority of all study extension requests. In addition, the number of requests that were turned down was 39 per cent higher than the previous year.
The Home Office said the figures showed the effects of policies such as interviews to ensure students were genuine and a previous fall in the number of study visas granted.
John Mountford, from the Association of Colleges, told The PIE News: “I can confidently say that the current UK legislation has had an impact on FE colleges’ ability to recruit students, and it has made it much harder for students to get visas.”
The figures refer to the period prior to the introduction of new regulations which now mean international students cannot remain in the UK while looking for work, and must return to their home country to do so.