Last year (i.e. 2008), the British Home Office announced the new Australian-style points-based system for international students in the UK, known as Tier 4 under the British Home Office rules.
Under the new system for UK student visas, all universities and colleges wanting to educate nationals from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) will need a license to do so.
What does this mean for the foreign student?
As of March 2009, only those licensed universities and colleges will be able to sponsor overseas non-EEA students to study in the UK.
Further, before studying at a UK licensed educational facility, foreign students will have to supply fingerprints and meet new criteria to be allowed to study in the UK.
The new system involves a 'sponsor management system', which includes a technology system that allows licensed sponsors to inform the UK Border Agency if students do not attend a required amount of classes.
Immigration Minister Phil Woolas said, "International students contribute £2.5bn to the UK economy in tuition fees alone. The student tier of the points system means Britain can continue to recruit good students from outside Europe.
"Those who come to Britain must play by the rules and benefit the country. This new route for students will ensure we know exactly who is coming here to study and stamp out bogus colleges which facilitate the lawbreakers."
The Minister of State for Higher Education David Lammy said he is confident the new student tier of the system to go live next autumn will bring positive benefits to the community of international students in the UK, but will also work well to protecting that system from "bogus colleges".
"I welcome the education sector’s involvement in developing this implementation plan, which will help to ensure we have a structure that allows international students to benefit from the excellent educational experience the UK offers, while giving them the opportunity to work in the UK for two years following graduation," Mr Lammy said in a statement.
Visit the official UK Visa Bureau website to read the full release.
The UK Visa Bureau is an independent immigration advisory service providing advice, information and case management to individuals, families and businesses. The company offers a variety of UK visas.
UK Visa Bureau services include overseas individual and family relocation as well as corporate cases relating to employer/employee sponsorship. The company also provides assistance with work permits to the UK as well as for those requiring Entry Clearance to approve their visa. Current migrants in the UK will benefit from our services aiding those applying for an Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).
Based in London, the UK Visa Bureau ensures clients are given the most up to date information concerning immigration and visa policy. UK Visa Bureau's internal case working processes are designed to eliminate legislative ambiguity and human error from the visa application process.
As a company, UK Visa Bureau works closely with clients to achieve positive results. From the initial stages of migration through to the end, our team of consultants and case workers make sure the process of migration is smooth and comfortable.
UK Visa Bureau is regulated by the Office of Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC).
The UK Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in UK visa and immigration services.