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Universities UK ‘concerned’ over government visa reform

Universities UK ‘concerned’ over government visa reform

The chief executive of Universities UK has warned the government over its attempts to stop bogus students abusing the country’s immigration system.

Nicola Dandridge expressed her concerns over the government’s handling of attempts to limit the numbers of international students staying in the UK after they have completed their studies.

Ms Dandridge told the Guardian: “We'd like to make it clear that abuse of the immigration system has to be dealt with robustly, and we support the government's efforts in this respect. If a college is defrauding and abusing the system, it is quite right that their licences should be withdrawn or they be shut down.

“Our concern lies in the way in which these issues are being presented. As reported, the changes are described by immigration minister Damian Green in terms of counteracting ‘widespread abuse of the student visa system’. Yet a number of the measures relate to restrictions of the options available to genuine international students during their time in the UK.

“Clearly there have to be limits to what an international student can do in this country: whether they can work, who they can bring with them and how long they can stay. But to conflate discussion about the limits of those entitlements with the need to combat fraud and abuse is damaging.”

Ms Dandridge pointed out the economic value that international students bring to the UK economy, some £5bn per year, and called for the government to work constructively with higher education institutions to reduce visa fraud without damaging the sector.

To read the full article from Nicola Dandridge in the Guardian, click here 

Posted by Nick Tellwright

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