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November 2008 - The new points-based visa system for students announced last week will place additional responsibilities on UK institutions, but should be invisible to foreign students in the short term, according to leading provider of international education, Study Group.

James Pitman, Managing Director, Study Group, comments:

“For the vast majority of international students wanting to study in Britain, the application process under the tier-4 system will barely change. It is the institutions which will be required to issue certificates of sponsorship and keep better tabs on students when they arrive so as to report non-enrolment and prolonged absenteeism.”

Recently, the requirements for foreigners interested in studying in Britain have tightened, with the introduction of biometric visas, ID cards and now the new points-based system. At the same time, the USA is relaxing some of the stringent visa restrictions imposed after the 11 September terrorist attacks.

James Pitman continues:

“The government has introduced these measures to make the system more secure, transparent and efficient, and it is up to institutions to work together to ensure that they are implemented with minimal impact on the student. The United States has historically been our biggest competitor as an Anglophone destination for foreign students. We therefore need to ensure that we do not lose our edge as recent events such as Barack Obama’s election victory and the easing of visa regulations across the Atlantic could make America more appealing.

“One issue the government does need to address is the requirements for biometric visas implemented earlier this year. For prospective students who do not live in major cities, obtaining a visa requires them to travel to their nearest centre at their own expense. One student from Vladivostok had to fly over 6,000km to Moscow to apply for a visa to take his A-levels at Bellerbys College. This is quite a process and is likely to put some people off coming to Britain to study. International education represents a £12bn export industry and we do not want to jeopardise this by coming across as inaccessible.”


About Study Group International

Spanning five continents, Study Group is a global leader in international education, providing the highest quality educational opportunities for students from over 120 countries. Beginning in 1994 with 7000 students per year, Study Group now has an enrolment base of 40,000 around the world.

Through Study Group’s leading set of partnerships with top universities, it is able to provide on and off-campus preparation courses for international students that ensure academic success and entry into some of the most prestigious educational institutions in the world. The quality of its teaching is confirmed by independent accreditation bodies worldwide including: English UK, Ofsted, British Council, NEAS, Accet, English Australia and New Zealand Qualification Authority.

Through the Bellerbys brand in the UK, Study Group provides academic preparation for international students wanting to study at English-speaking universities Study Group offers English language courses for international students in 18 locations in all of the main Anglophone destinations through its EmbassyCES brand. Courses include short-term general English, one-year academic programmes and specialist English preparation for public English language qualifications, or for degree programmes at English-speaking universities. Study Group also runs youth summer vacation courses in the UK, Ireland and the USA, combining English language training with both academic and extra-curricular activities.
The biggest intake of international students into Study Group’s UK programmes is from countries with emerging economies such as China, and South East Asian economies, and in particular from oil rich nations like Russia and the Middle East

About Bellerbys College

Bellerbys College has built a reputation throughout the world for its academic distinction and unsurpassed student support services.

Bellerbys offers unrivalled academic preparation for international students who demand the very best of a British education. Programmes range from GCSE and A Level to Foundation courses, degree study and postgraduate preparation courses.

The college has centres in some of the UK's most renowned academic destinations including Oxford and Cambridge and brand-new, purpose built centres in Brighton and London.

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