British Home Secretary Theresa May is further tightening the visa conditions for non EU students studying in the UK. She also wants the British universities to become financially independent by developing sustainable funding models rather than depending on the income from overseas student fees. Her most recent announcement is seen as part of meeting the government’s net migration targets.Figures show that net migration in to UK has soared significantly to 318,000 in the 12 months period up to December 2014 caused by gross immigration figures of 641,000 and gross emigration of 323,000.
Under the new rules,
- From 3 August 2015, new students from outside the EU, enrolled at public Further Education colleges in the UK will lose the right to work which is currently up to 10 hours per week and full-time during holidays.
- From 12 November 2015, further education students will not be allowed to apply for a post study work visa from within UK, unless they first leave the country.
- Also from 12 November, the length of further education visas will be reduced from three years to two. Further education students will be prevented from extending their visas unless they are demonstrably progressing in their studies and unless the institution in which they are enrolled is affiliated with a university.
The new rules also would require students to have more funds on their arrival.It should However be noted that these new rules affect only those students who are enrolling themselves at publicly funded further education colleges rather than those who enrol themselves at reputed universities which have graduate or postgraduate degree awarding status.
In the meantime, the London School of Economics and Political Science, which attracts a large number of overseas students each year has tried to allay the fears of overseas students by clarifying the situation on their website. It reads,
“You may have recently read that the work rights for Tier 4 students and their ability to switch into Tier 2 or extend their visa in the UK have been removed. We can confirm that the change in working conditions and your ability to switch into Tier 2 in the UK will not affect students studying at degree level at the LSE. The changes that have been implemented only affect students studying at below degree level in Further Education colleges. These colleges provide post-16 education mostly below degree level. You may be affected if you are a prospective student who has completed their A Levels or International Baccalaureate at a Further Education College. Contact ISIS for advice if you think you may be affected by this change. “