New immigration rules affect 450 UK colleges
More than 450 colleges in the UK have been banned from sponsoring international students into the UK under Government plans to 'crackdown on abuse of the immigration system.'
The announcement was made on 2 November by Damian Green, UK Immigration minister, arguing that higher standards for education providers will prevent abuse of the system.
Nearly 400 colleges, which in total sponsor nearly 11,000 international students entering the UK every year, failed to apply to the new inspection system by the set deadline and other 51 had their licences revoked after irregularities were found in their recruitment process of international students.
It is estimated that 40% of international students go through such colleges before taking a degree at a British university. Universities UK has criticised the decision, arguing that cutting such courses is damaging Britain's reputation for welcoming talented international students and undermining the pathway programmes operated by many universities.
Additionally, the announcement has been perceived as 'damaging' of the image of these education insitutions. Speaking to The Guardian, Tony Millns, chief executive of English UK, recently said the Home Office had "allowed it to be inferred that all the colleges on its list were bogus, fronts for illegal immigration, or of poor educational quality". Most of the affected colleges offer pre-degree level and English language courses.
As the United States and Australia are moving towards a flexible immigration policy for international students, UK government’s measures are seen by detractors as seriously damaging international competitiveness in the higher education sector.
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