From education to employment

Quarter rejected in crackdown on fraudulent colleges

The Government has revealed that new rules aimed to cut down on bogus colleges and fraudulent applications from foreign students has so far screened out nearly a quarter of college, university and independent school applications.

Under the student tier of Britain’s strict new points system, institutions must register with the UK Border Agency for permission to sponsor international students to come here. Out of the more than 2,100 applicants, roughly 460 institutions have already been rejected.

Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, said: "These new measures make sure people who come here to study – and the people who teach them – play by the rules.

"This new tier of the points based system allows us to know exactly who is coming to the UK to study and crack down on bogus colleges.

"I have made it clear that I will not tolerate either the fraudulent applicants trying to abuse Britain’s immigration rules, or the dodgy colleges that facilitate them. However Britain will always welcome legitimate students who are coming here to receive a first-rate education."

So far, those rejected during the screening process do not include Further Education colleges, and the Government is determined the new tough scheme still benefits talented, legitimate students making the most of Britain’s educational institutions.

Robert Russell, the finance development manager of the Association of Colleges (AoC), believes the measures are necessary for the credibility of British colleges.

"Colleges recognise the openness and transparency that the new Points Based System introduces to the recruitment of overseas students, and are keen to ensure that British education continues to be well-regarded throughout the world. Colleges are hopeful that the new sponsor register will prevent fraudulent institutions from abusing the immigration system in Britain," said Mr Russell

Professor Mary Ritter, pro rector of International Affairs at Imperial College London, added: "International students play a big part in making Imperial the dynamic and exciting place it is, and we feel very fortunate that so many motivated, highly talented people from around the world want to pursue their studies here.

"It’s vital that, while taking appropriate border control measures, we don’t make it difficult for these students to come to the UK. For that reason we are very pleased that the Government has decided to extend the maximum length of the Tier 4 visa from the planned four years to cover the complete duration of a student’s course. This will be particularly helpful for medical students.

"We also welcome moves to make the system simpler for institutions and students."

Pictured: Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary

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