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UK to implement Tier 4 for students in March 2008

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The UK Border Agency will implement Tier 4 for foreign students in March of 2008. The new tier will be an "Australian-style" points based system for entry of students from outside the European Union to the United Kingdom for the purpose of higher education.

Universities wishing to bring foreign students to the UK will be required to obtain a sponsorship license. Students applying under Tier 4 will be required to obtain a certificate of sponsorship from their university.

In autumn of 2009, the UK will bring a "sponsor management system" online which will make it easy for universities to inform the UK Border Agency if students fail to enroll or miss more than ten sessions.

The sponsorship system is part of an effort to crack down on "bogus colleges"; These are colleges used by people to facilitate entry for work related purposes in the UK.

"International students contribute £2.5 billion to the UK economy in tuition fees alone. The student tier of the points system means Britain can continue to recruit good students from outside Europe," said UK Immigration Minister Phil Woolas.

"Those who come to Britain must play by the rules and benefit the country," he added. "This new route for students will ensure we know exactly who is coming here to study and stamp out bogus colleges which facilitate the lawbreakers."