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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Review student visa rules: British Council

Amidst reports of declining number of student applications from India, the British Council has called for an "urgent review" of recent changes to the student visa system, particularly the closure of the popular post-study work visa from April this year.

The British Council, which is responsible for promoting British education overseas, presented a detailed report to the government on the likely impact the recent student visa changes will have, and compared the experiences of Australia and US in this regard.

Indians are among the highest number of international students coming to the UK every year, and many apply for the post-study work visa to recover some of the funds spent to study here, but the closure of the post-study work visa is seen as a major deterrent.

There are already reports of a decline of nearly 30 percent in applications from the Indian sub-continent.

International students are estimated to contribute over 14 billion pounds annually to the UK economy.

This week, Immigration minister Damian Green announced that new rules will come into force within weeks to cut abuse of the student visa route and ensure that only the brightest and the best students can stay and work in the UK.

A British Council spokesperson told PTI today that it "absolutely supports" the David Cameron government's aim to attract genuine students to the UK, and prevent 'bogus' students from entering and taking places ahead of genuine students.

In a report titled 'Impact of Visa Changes on Student Mobility and Outlook for the UK', the British Council said: "Students from certain countries who mainly study postgraduate courses in the UK such as India, Pakistan and others -- will be affected by the removal of the post-study work visa... The sooner this situation is addressed, the more contained the damage of bad publicity overseas will be."

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