The proposed changes in the immigration rules are likely to turn UK into ‘unattractive destination’ for the overseas students<br><STRONG>BHAGIRATH YOGI</STRONG> in London

Jan. 23, 2011, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol. :04 No.-15 Jan. 21-2011 (Magh 07,2067)

Rishi Shrestha, a Nepali student, is awaiting response to his visa application at a private London college. Originally from Biratnagar, he has plans to come to UK to study Accounting and bring along his wife as a dependant.

“My idea is that my wife could work full time while I studied at the college. I

According to a consultation document published by the British government on 9 December 2010, the new proposals include:

• restricting study of courses below degree level to institutions with Highly Trusted Sponsor status,

• raising the minimum level of English language to study any subject, including English, to B2 (that is IELTS score between 5 to 6.5),

• not allowing students to make an immigration application in the UK to extend their stay,

• abolishing Tier 1 (Post-Study Work) visa,

• restricting weekday term-time work to work on campus only

• allowing family members to enter or stay in the UK only if a student is studying for more than 12 months and removing all work entitlements from their family members,

• and, imposing more restrictions on private colleges.

also hope to work part-time to meet my expenses,” said Shrestha.

Recent changes proposed by the UK Border Agency (UKBA)—that manages immigration into the country, however, are likely to make life difficult for prospective students like Shrestha.

The UKBA consultations end on 31st January 2011 and are expected to come into force from April this year.

“These changes are likely to have far-reaching consequences on foreign students,” said London-based Solicitor Raju Thapa, who specialises on immigration matters. “The government’s proposal mainly seems to be aiming at reducing the number of overseas students and their dependants especially below degree level,” he added. 

Impact on Private Colleges
The new proposals are also likely to affect thousands of private colleges mainly centred in and around London. “If the new proposal comes in the current proposed form, it will seriously disadvantage students and institutions. It will make UK a less attractive destination for overseas students,” said Rajen Kandel, managing director of the South London College (SLC) – that has recently been recognised as a ‘Highly Trusted Sponsor’ by the UK Border Agency.

Kandel said private colleges are trying to get their message through to parliament via their Association of Private Colleges and also through local MPs. “At the same time we are now diversifying our courses and also focusing on the courses that will attract local as well as students from the European Union.”

Many overseas students, however, are not in a position to influence the British government’s policy. Unlike British students who took to streets last year protesting against the government’s plan to raise University fees, foreign students who are already studying in the UK seemed reluctant to voice their concerns. 

“First of all, we don’t exactly know how the proposed changes are going to affect us,” said Rachana Sharma, a Nepali student now studying at a college in North London. “Moreover, we don’t want to draw unnecessary attention from the UK Border Agency which could have adverse impact on our visa status,” she added.ease type your text here.

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