Students from North India, Bangladesh and Nepal wishing to study in a higher education course will from 1 March 2010 again be able to apply for an UK student visa. This will help thousands of students who have been unable to apply for a student visa since 1 February 2010.
Pat McFadden, the Minister for Business, Innovation and Skills, had the following to say, "The suspension was taken in response to a huge surge in applications over a very short period of time."
"I am delighted to be able to announce today that, from 1 March, this suspension will be lifted for all students wanting to study higher education courses, whether foundation degrees, undergraduate or postgraduate."
Unfortunately the ban will continue for the time being for student applicants who wish to enter the UK to study at a level lower than undergraduate level. McFadden had the following to say:
"But we will continue to keep this under review and will lift it as soon as we can, and once the new 'highly trusted sponsor' system for colleges and other educational establishments across the UK is in place."
It is estimated that Indian students and other international students bring with them 8.5 billion pounds of income annually. British Universities are also very dependent on overseas student fee income. Overseas students pay far higher fees than local students.
Recently UK immigration brought in tougher requirements for overseas students. Those students below degree level can now only work ten hours a week compared to the previous twenty hours a week. The UK Home Secretary Alan Johnson said that it will be more difficult for "bogus students" to come to the UK. Johnson also said:
"The points-based system was introduced to provide a rigorous system to manage legitimate access to the U.K. to work and study, with the ability to respond to changing circumstances.
We want foreign students to come here to study, not to work illegally, and today we have set out necessary steps which will maintain the robustness of the system we introduced last year.
I make no apologies for that."