Landlords suffer as students are barred from sham colleges
By Simon Thompson
Around 500 colleges face a ban on bringing in international students in a blitz on student visa abuses.
The ban has stopped around 11,000 students coming to the UK - but marks bad news for student landlords who provide their accommodation.
The Home Office and UK Border Agency crackdown mainly affects students from South East Asia coming to Britain to learn English.
Dozens of sham colleges have already closed as 4,500 student applications to come to the UK were rejected by the government.
An investigation uncovered systematic abuse of the student visa system.
The government is concerned that migrants were posing as students to gain entry to the UK rather than seeking genuine learning.
One student interviewed to test his English language skills answered almost every question with the word ‘hello.’
At another college, staff switched off lights off and hid when inspectors called, while another was unable to provide any timetables of classes or registers of students enrolled.
A Norfolk-based college had students whose home address was recorded as Glasgow.
Immigration Minister Damian Green said: “Widespread abuse of the student visa system has gone on for too long and the changes we have made are beginning to bite.
“Too many institutions were offering international students an immigration service rather than an education. Only first-class education providers should be given licences to sponsor international students.”
The government plans to introduce more measures to tighten student visa rules in April.
The student visa changes are part of sweeping changes to overhaul the immigration system and reduce net migration from hundreds of thousands to tens of thousands.
A limit on non-EU workers coming to the UK has already been introduced. Restrictions on the right to settle here will be outlined shortly alongside reforms to the family migration route which will promote integration and reduce burdens on the taxpayer.