UK to impose new curbs on non-EU students

Prasun Sonwalkar

London, Feb 2 (PTI) Britain is likely to impose newrestrictions before granting visas to students from India andother non-EU countries as part of the Prime Minister DavidCameron government''s promise to reduce immigration and curbvisa abuse.

Current rules allow non-EU students to work for twoyears after completion of their courses. This is likely to berestricted as Immigration minister Damian Green considers theoutcome of a consultation exercise on this issue.

The migration of international students is worth 5billion pounds to the UK economy annually.

Elaborating on the alleged abuse of the student visasystem, Green said in a speech last night that non-EU studentscould not be allowed unfettered access to the UK labour marketamidst growing unemployment in Britain.

He said: "The post study work route was intended toform a bridge between study and skilled work, allowing allinternational graduates to remain for two years aftergraduation. Many go into secretarial, sales, customer serviceand catering roles. At a time when graduate unemployment is atits highest level for seventeen years we need a more targetedapproach".

He added: "To allow unfettered access to the jobsmarket for two years to anyone with a student visa from abroadis putting an unnecessary extra strain on our own graduates".

Green is expected to crack down on this post-studywork route.

He also presented details of alleged abuse of thestudent visa system by colleges in the private sector that didnot have the necessary facilities or academic standing tooffer courses.

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