A new crackdown on the abuse of student visas was announced today – as further measures of the Immigration Act came into force.
Tackling student visa abuse
From November, tougher rules will be imposed on universities and colleges who sponsor international students to study in the UK.
Currently, educational institutions can enjoy Highly Trusted Sponsor status if the Home Office rejects 20% or fewer student applications as being invalid.
But that figure will be cut to 10% in November after a three-month grace period for colleges and universities to re-examine and improve their admissions procedures.
If more than one in 10 applications are being rejected from November onwards, educational institutions could lose their right to bring in new students from overseas.
The change will ensure all institutions are playing their part in administering immigration rules to enjoy the benefits of bringing in foreign students.
The new student rules were announced as further measures in the government’s flagship Immigration Act came into force, including laws cracking down on sham marriages and stripping illegal immigrants of driving licences.
Home Secretary Theresa May said:
We are building an immigration system that is fair to British citizens and legitimate migrants, but tough on those who abuse it or flout the law.
The Immigration Act is a landmark piece of legislation that will make Britain a less attractive place for those who come here for the wrong reasons, and will allow us to remove more people when they have no right to remain.
We will always act when we see abuse of our immigration system. And that is why we are tightening the rules to cut out abuse in the student visa system.
These reforms are helping to deliver what we have always promised — to build an immigration system that truly works in the national interest.
Key measures from the Immigration Act which are now in force include:
Introducing enhanced duties for registrars to report suspected sham marriages and civil partnerships;
Creating new powers to streamline the recovery of illegal working penalties;
Establishing the ability to remove harmful individuals before their appeals are heard if there is no risk of serious irreversible harm;
Strengthening requirements for the courts to have regard to Parliament’s view of the public interest in immigration cases raising Article 8 - making clear the right to a family life is not to be regarded as absolute and unqualified; and
Introducing new powers to revoke the driving licences of known illegal immigrants.