Universities concerned over stricter student visa regulations

Stricter student visas regulations have been announced by the Home Office, raising concerns over funding for UK universities. The new immigration rules, which are taking immediate effect, should prevent the abuse of the student visa system that some people use to remain illegally in the UK.

But universities such as the University of Lincoln, who plan to increase their dwindling budgets due to the latest cuts in higher education funding, could be affected by the new rules, as their targets for international students might not be met entirely.

The rules mean that students applying from outside the European Union (EU) must be able to speak English to near GCSE level. Moreover, students who are on short courses will not be able to bring dependants, and those taking courses below degree levels will now only be allowed to work ten hours a week, instead of 20.

Manjeet Ridon, the university’s director of international office, said: “The University of Lincoln is very concerned with the various changes taking place in visa rulings. We are seeking clarification in more detail and the other changes proposed.”

However, “The university is happy to support UK Border Agency efforts to better streamline, monitor and enforce the new points based system and while the university’s international student population is yet small, the impact to our international activities is minimal too,” Ridon added.

It is estimated that students from outside of the EU contribute around £120, 000 each to the economy through their study fees and living costs.

The University of Lincoln has plans of increasing the number of international students, as Professor Scott Davidson, the university’s pro-vice chancellor for external affairs, recently told The Linc: “International students are not taking up places available to home and EU students. We have a contract number of home and EU students that we are allowed to take, but any international students we recruit are above and beyond that.”

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