Foreign students working illegally to be expelled from Britain

By Dipankar De Sarkar, IANS,

London : Foreign students from outside Europe will be deported from Britain if they are found to be working illegally, the British government said Wednesday.

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The British home ministry issued the warning while giving out details of new rules for foreign students, effective immediately, that it said are aimed at stopping ‘bogus students’ from coming into the country.

The new regulations will ensure that students studying below degree level have a limited ability to work in Britain and that their dependants cannot work here at all.

“It will be even harder for bogus students, whose only aim is to work in the UK, to come into the country,” the home ministry said.

The new measures include:

* A good standard of English (equivalent of holding just below a GCSE qualification – year 11 in school – in a foreign language) will be needed to come to Britain and study to improve English language competency further;

* A good standard of English (again equivalent of holding just below a GCSE in a foreign language) will need to be demonstrated in order to study any other course below degree level;

* Restricting the lowest level courses (A-levels, or year 13 in school, and equivalent) to only the most trusted institutions;

* Halving the amount of time a student studying below first degree level or on a foundation degree course, will be able to work, to just 10 hours during term time;

* A ban on bringing in dependants for anyone studying a course for less than six months; and

* A ban on dependants of anyone studying a course lower than foundation or undergraduate degree level from working – they will face removal from Britain if found doing so.

Home Secretary Alan Johnson said: “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.”

India ranks second only to China in the list of countries with the most number of students in British institutions.

Alongside, the government also announced that from 2011 it will put in place a new points-based test for people applying to become permanent residents.

From 2011, anyone wishing to become a permanent resident will have to show they have the qualifications or skills that the British economy needs, or are living in parts of the country where there are specific skills shortages that they can fill. They will also have to demonstrate that they could speak good English for their application to be successful.