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Home Secretary Amber Rudd announces crack down on international students


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During a speech made to the Conservative party conference in Birmingham yesterday, UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd announced restrictions the number of international students that come to study in the UK under a possible new multi-tiered visa system.

This leaves overseas students’ right to remain, bring in their families, work and dwell without passing an English language test post-studies subject to overhaul.

For the very first time, this visa will be tied to quality of course, as this consultation assesses the current rules in place and whether or not these should be tailored to the quality of the course and institution.

Rudd critiqued the existing system, saying: Foreign students, even those studying English language degrees, don’t even have to be proficient in speaking English. We need to look at whether this one-size-fits-all approach really is right for the hundreds of different universities providing thousands of different courses across the country. And we need to look at whether this generous offer for all universities is really adding value to our economy.”

Her speech has garnered heavy criticism. The Labour MP for Sheffield Central, Paul Blomfield, blasted the plans, calling them “spectacularly ill-informed."

According to the Guardian, Blomfield said: "She doesn’t seem to understand the current rules for which she is responsible, let alone appreciate the enormous contribution international students make to the universities and cities where they study”.

He continued, “International students bring £8bn a year to the UK economy, creating tens of thousands of jobs... Education is one of our most successful export industries. The only people cheering today’s announcement will be our competitors.”

Nicola Dandridge of Universities UK disputed international students’ inclusion in the net migration target, saying: “Polling has shown that the British public does not see international students as long-term migrants, but as valuable, temporary visitors. International students come to the UK, study for a period, and then the overwhelming majority go home after their studies.”

Rudd also spoke of a crackdown on work visas, mandatory immigrant status checks for those applying for certain jobs and a review of the resident labour market test that companies must pass before recruiting overseas workers, to ensure that “people coming here are filling gaps in the labour market, not taking jobs British people could do.”

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