On 31st July 2014, the Government announced a crackdown on misuse of student visas, which coincides with enforcement measures under the new legal regime.

More strict rules are to be imposed on universities and colleges who sponsor international students to study in the UK from November this year. At present, educational institutions may enjoy Highly Trusted Sponsor status so long as the Home Office rejects no more than 20% of their student applications as being invalid.

However, that figure will be reduced to 10% in November. There will be a three month grace period, beginning now, for colleges and universities to re-examine and adjust their admissions procedures. This will mean that if more than 10% of applications to an educational institution are being rejected, from November onwards such institutions may lose their right to allow new students from overseas in to the institution.

This measure is designed to ensure all institutions are correctly administering immigration rules, allowing everyone to enjoy the benefits of bringing in students from abroad. The announcement of the new rules coincided with further measures in the Immigration Act 2014 coming into force. These further measures include tougher laws on sham marriages and disallowing illegal immigrants to have driving licences. Home Secretary Theresa May said:

“We are building an immigration system that is fair to British citizens and legitimate migrants, but tough on those who abuse it or flout the law. The Immigration Act is a landmark piece of legislation that will make Britain a less attractive place for those who come here for the wrong reasons, and will allow us to remove more people when they have no right to remain. We will always act when we see abuse of our immigration system. And that is why we are tightening the rules to cut out abuse in the student visa system.”

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