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Colleges to challenge student visas plans in courts

Colleges to challenge student visas plans in courts

Private colleges have been given the go-ahead to mount a legal challenge against a government clampdown on "bogus" foreign students. 

A judge gave the Association of UK Private Schools and Colleges permission on Monday to ask the high court to review plans to cut student visas. 

The home secretary Theresa May announced the proposals earlier this year and said ministers wanted to restore "sanity" to the student visa system. 

Private colleges disagree, calling the plans “disproportionate”, “arbitrary” and “severe”. Deputy high court judge Charles George, QC, said that the association could seek a high court ruling. At a preliminary high court hearing in London, he said the association had an “arguable” case for a review but he thought college bosses would face an “uphill task” in persuading a judge that May had acted unreasonably. 

Mrs May said in March that the government wanted to attract the “brightest and best” to the UK but said the visa system had become “broken” under the previous Labour administration. 

Mrs May added: “This package will stop the bogus students, studying meaningless courses at fake colleges. It will protect our world-class institutions. It will stop the abuse that became all too common under Labour. And it will restore some sanity to our student visa system.” 

She said she expected the measures would reduce the number of student visas issued by 70,000-80,000 annually – equivalent to a 25% fall. 

Posted by Caroline Fox

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