Roll-out of new rules for foreign students

A delivery plan for the student tier of the Australian-style points system has been announced by the Home Office.

Under the new system, which will be rolled out from March next year, colleges and universities who want to teach non European Economic Area (EEA) nationals must have a licence issued by the UK Border Agency. Licensed institutions can then sponsor non EEA students to come to study in the UK.

The system will clamp down on bogus students and ensure only those who benefit Britain can continue to come. Before they can study here, foreign students must be sponsored by a UK Border Agency-licensed education institution, supply their fingerprints and meet new criteria.

From March next year the following measures will come into effect:

  • all colleges and universities that want to recruit foreign students will need a sponsor licence:
  • every student will need a licensed sponsor; and
  • stricter rules to protect the UK's labour market.

From autumn 2009 the system will be tightened further with the introduction of a 'sponsor management system' – dedicated technology that will make it easier for universities and colleges to inform the UK Border Agency if students fail to enrol or miss more than ten sessions.