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Ongoing developments in UK higher education (see England: Much anticipated higher education white paper is released in our June 2011 edition) also extend to visa reform affecting international students. These changes will have an impact on processes for seeking entry into the country; they also affect various entitlements available to students once admitted to the UK. The changes to the immigration rules affecting Tier 4 (the student tier of the points-based system) are due to go into effect on 4 July 2011. They represent one outcome of a public consultation process announced late last year (see ACA Newsletter – Education Europe, November 2010), which also resulted in the release of a set of interim measures in March 2011.
The new rules aim to both stem immigration abuse and allow “genuine students to study at genuine colleges”. Among the specifics of the new regulations:
The government has also published an impact assessment report for these changes, which attempts to quantify the effects of the policy package on both student volumes and in monetary terms. Ultimately, this report notes that the “estimated economic costs of these proposals appear significant”, but that achieving the national policy goals of reducing student visa abuse and curtailing migration over the next four years make it necessary to move forward in this direction.UK Border Agency (student visa rules change announcement) UK Border Agency (student visa reform impact assessment)