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Restrictions to student visas - at what cost?

27 July 2011

Recent changes in the student immigration points-based system have caused controversy in the education sector and MPs are accusing the government of rushing plans to curb student visas, saying it could cost the economy £3.4bn.

Tighter restrictions for student visa applicants already mean tougher English language requirements and students at public sector FE colleges are now limited to 10 hours of work per week during term time. Students at privately funded FE colleges or language schools are not permitted to work at any time during their studies.

Further changes due to take effect from April 2012 include:

  • courses offering work placements will have to have a study:work ratio of 66:33 (except at HE institutions)
  • Tier 1 Post Study Work Route will be closed (but switching to Tier 2 will be allowed in certain circumstances)
The concern for the education sector is that the tighter restrictions could mean that less international students apply to study in the UK.

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