New student visa regulations pose risk to UK’s International HE sector
• New visa extension process bound to increase admin costs
• Largest private provider to International HE sector adjusting business processes accordingly
• Visa fees for students also set to increase from £99 to £145
Of the 1.6 million full-time undergraduates currently studying in the UK, around 99,000 are classified as international students. Early 2009 saw a rise in applications to universities across the board, as more people decided to sit out the credit crunch by studying. However, international education providers are worried about the repercussions of the new tier 4 visa requirements, due to come into force on Tuesday (March 31), for the international education industry in 2009, as institutions find themselves taking on the role of immigration administrators, as well as education providers.
Study Group, the largest independent supplier of international students to the United Kingdom Higher Education sector, has revealed how the new points-based visa system for students will place additional responsibilities on UK institutions, even though they will not be completely obvious to foreign students in the short term.
“The institutions will now have to act as sponsors of students wishing to study in the UK and will have a requirement to report non-enrolment and prolonged absenteeism. We understand that the visa extension process will become more complex as well and such changes will certainly add to workload and administration costs. The time to fill in an application and go through it with a student will also increase significantly.”
“When this is taken in the context of the new requirement for biometric visas, an increase in visa fees from £99 to £145, and the recent introduction of ID cards for international students, it is clear that the international education industry faces significant changes. This is a sector that is worth £13bn to the UK economy and we need to make sure that industry works closely with government to ensure that these changes are implemented smoothly.”
Study Group are very well-placed to offer expert comment on the new visa regulations that come into effect next week and talk about its exact consequences for the UK education sector. If you are interested, please call Aakriti Jain or Heather Baker on 0207 886 0857 or email Aakriti@toplinecomms.com for further details.
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