The Home Secretary has today announced major changes to the student visa system. The main changes are:
- Students coming to this country to study for degrees must meet a higher English language standard.
- Students studying outside Universities and publicly funded Further Education Colleges will not be permitted to work, even in vacations. There will also be restrictions on work placements.
- Tier 1 (Post-Study Work), which allows students to work in this country for two years after their course ends, will close in April next year. New graduates may only remain in this country if they have an offer of a skilled job from a sponsoring employer under Tier 2.
- From April next year, any educational institution wanting to sponsor students must be graded as a Highly Trusted sponsor and be accredited by a statutory inspection body. This raises the quality standard which institutions are required to meet.
The Home Secretary said:
"The changes I am announcing today re-focus the student route as a temporary one, available to only the brightest and the best. The new system is designed to ensure students come for a limited period, to study, not work, and make a positive contribution while they are here."