theresa may

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New Visa Regulations Announced

The British Home Secretary Theresa May announced today that the number of non-EU students granted a visa to the UK is going to be cut by up to 80,000 a year.

The announcement is part of the government’s drive to scale down immigration to the UK to just tens of thousands by 2015, and is likely to reduce foreign student visas by as much as 25%. Of the proposal, May told MPs:

“It will protect our world-class institutions. It will stop the abuse that became all too common under Labour and it will restore some sanity to our student visa system."

“Fake Colleges”

However, away from these headline grabbing statistics, what do these new regulations actually mean to your standard student hoping to study in the UK?

Well, the proposals are basically aimed at stopping people from manipulating the system in order to simply get a UK visa. At the moment the government say there are thousands of non-EU inhabitants every year who get student visas with no intention of actually studying in the UK.

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Theresa May Explains Student Visa Changes

On Wednesday (12th December) Theresa May- the British Home Secretary, made a speech about the changes to immigration and the visa system that she and the government have brought in over the last few years. A large part of the speech focussed on international students and the restrictions that have been introduced on student visas. Here we have the important parts regarding foreign students word by word:  

"We have always been clear that we want Britain to attract the brightest and best talent from around the world - the top academics, brightest students, the best businessmen, investors, skilled workers and entrepreneurs who will contribute to our society, our economy and our way of life."


"I also want to build on the principle of appealing to exceptionally talented people, so I intend to add a further 1,000 places a year for MBA graduates who want to stay in Britain and start up businesses."

Fighting Abuse

"We changed student visas to make sure that while we still attract the brightest and the best, and we still protect our world-class education establishments, we eradicate abuse from the system."


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Student Visa Cuts Reduced

The government has announced that planned cuts in UK student visas will be far less stringent than first proposed.

The British Home Secretary, Theresa May, revealed that the number of international students allowed in to the UK over the next 5 years will be cut by 260,000. Whilst this may sound like a lot, it is far fewer than the 400,000 that had been suggested by the government in March this year.

Bogus Students

The new figure accounts for about 15% of international student visas, but it is important to remember that the vast majority of the students denied a visa will be ‘bogus'. The government is specifically aiming the cuts at fake students who attend private colleges simply to gain a visa to the UK, without ever actually planning to study here. If you want to study a legitimate course at a government recognised university or college, then obtaining a visa should not be any more of a problem than it currently is.

However, the chairman of MigrationWatch UK, Sir Andrew Green, has condemned the changes despite their new increased leniency, claiming that the government is approaching the problem from the wrong angle. He suggested that instead of simply creating a headline figure to cut immigration by, there should instead be a stricter interview process before students are granted visas:

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