UK to cut student visas by a quarter of a million by 2015

The UK is planning to cut the number of student visas issued over the next five years by 260,000, according to a recent Times Higher Education article.

The Times further cited an estimate released earlier this week according to which the recent changes to the UK student visa system will also result in cuts to the number of visas issued to dependents of students on student visas by 100,000 by 2015.

Concerning the reasons for the planned decreases in the number of student visas issued, UK's Immigration Minister Damian Green said:

"We are radically reforming the immigration system to tackle abuse and bring net migration down to sustainable levels. These changes to the student visa system will create a system where every student coming to the UK attends a legitimate course at a legitimate institution."

Pam Tatlow, the chief executive of Million+, a group representing post-92 universities, expressed concerns about the costs the visa reforms might entail:

"The best guess is that the reforms will cost a massive £2.4 billion but the worst case scenario could be as high as £3.6 billion. At a time of economic difficulty we should not be introducing reforms that will damage the UK or stop us attracting the talent and skills we need to rebuild our economy. Of course we should be doing more to crack down on bogus colleges but the system did not need the government to take a sledge hammer to it. The end result could be a catastrophic loss of education exports.”

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