Higher Education

Strict British visa restrictions for overseas students

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The British government on Tuesday introduced a new strict visa regime for students from outside Europe amid a 30% rise in the number of Indians studying in Britain. International students in Britain last year paid tuition fees worth a total of 2.5 billion pounds. The British home ministry said the new system will make the visa process simpler, more objective and more transparent while preventing abuse of the immigration system. From Tuesday, all British schools and colleges taking in international students from India and other countries outside the European region will need to be registered with the UK Border Agency.

More than 2,100 universities, independent schools and colleges have applied to be licensed sponsors, undertaking responsibility for ensuring that international students comply with the conditions of their visas while they are in Britain. However, the Guardian newspaper said that the UK Border Agency has turned down around 460 of these applicants in a crackdown on bogus institutions and students. Under the new visa rules, students will need to ensure that they have an unconditional offer of a study place, and show that they has sufficient funds to cover course fees and living costs. A record number of Indian students are now going to Britain. In 2008, almost 29,000 Indian students received visas – a 30 percent increase on 2007 figures.

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