Home Secretary Amber Rudd has announced changes to the UK visa system for overseas students coming to Britain to study.
In her speech at the Conservative Party Conference, she said there would be a consultation on changes to system, to allow stricter rules to be introduced for “low quality” courses. Instead, she wants to focus student visas on what she called the “best” universities.
Ms Rudd said: “The current system allows all students, irrespective of their talents and the university’s quality, favourable employment prospects when they stop studying.
“We need to look at whether this generous offer for all universities is really adding value for our economy.”
The Home Secretary also used her speech to recommit to former Prime Minister David Cameron’s pledge to reduce immigration to the UK to “tens of thousands”. Increasingly tougher rules on students coming to Britain to study and the removal of the post-study work visa were among the ways the Government had been trying to achieve this.
However, making it even harder for overseas students to come to Britain is likely to cause concern among universities. The money that international students bring in are a key part of university’s incomes as well to as the local economies where they live and study.
Ms Rudd’s announcement offers further proof of the Government’s attempts to reduce net migration under the Prime Ministership of Theresa May. Mrs May was a leading figure in introducing more curbs on immigration when she was Home Secretary.
The flavour of the Government’s approach was further highlighted when Ms Rudd announced she wished to send a “warning to those that simply oppose any steps to reduce net migration. This Government will not waver in its commitment to put the interests of the British people first”.