Friday, 30 April 2010

UUK Sceptic about visa sponsor scheme

Universities UK has signalled unhappiness with the government over "poor quality" student visa rules by advising institutions not to apply to become a "highly trusted sponsor" and by venting its criticisms in Parliament.


Higher education institutions have a deadline of 30 June to apply for the sponsor scheme, which is part of a tightening of student immigration rules ordered by the prime minister to crack down on abuse by economic migrants.


The UK Border Agency (UKBA) said highly trusted sponsor status would ease the bureaucratic burden on universities while preventing abuses of the immigration system.

But others fear that universities' international reputations and recruitment will be damaged if they fall short of exacting requirements and fail to qualify for the annually renewed status.

Sponsors must ensure that no more than 3 per cent of international students fail to complete their courses, and university staff will have to mount in-depth background checks on prospective students - detailed in a 21-page UKBA document.

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