Immigration jumps in Britain amid surge in student visas


London : Amid increasing number of students coming to Britain, migration has risen by more than 20 percent last year in the country, a report said Thursday.

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Net long-term immigration was 196,000 last year, compared with 163,000 in 2008. The number of visas issued to students rose 35 percent to 362,015 in the year to June, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Increasing number of foreigners have been coming to the country for attending colleges and universities since a points-based system was introduced by the Labour government, The Telegraph reported.

But, campaign groups have claimed the system is a loophole, and said that many British students are giving up their plans to pursue further education because of unprecedented places.

Immigration Minister, Damian Green, has announced that there will be a thorough review of the rules.

Many students enter Britain, with universities seeing them as a lucrative source of income at a time of cuts to higher education budgets. A recent research showed that a third of universities were preparing to increase the number of foreign undergraduates they admit from September.

Besides enrolment in traditional universities, tens of thousands of foreign students have been admitted to 600 “lower tier” colleges, at which it is easier to gain a place but which are still accredited to hand out bachelor degrees.

Last year, it emerged that some of these colleges offered qualifications in subjects such as circus skills, acupuncture and ancient medicine. Many of their students are given the right to work in Britain after graduating.

The report said about 4,000 illegal immigrants are also thought to have taken advantage of bogus colleges to slip into the country.