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Immigration Controls: Overseas Students

Volume 490: debated on Monday 30 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions her Department had with educational institutions in its preparation of the requirements placed upon higher and further education institutions under Tier 4 of the 2008 changes to immigration rules. (267776)

The phased implementation of Tier 4 of the Points Based System, which has been agreed with the education sector and DIUS, commenced on 28 July 2008, when the UK Border Agency started accepting sponsor licence applications from educational institutions that wish to bring students from outside the European Economic Area to the UK for study. The Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules (HC 314) laid before the House on 9 March 2009 marks the start of the second phase: from 31 March 2009, only UK Border Agency licensed institutions will be able to bring students to the UK, and student applicants will need to meet the Tier 4 points test before being granted leave to enter or remain.

The Joint Education Taskforce (JET) is the UK Border Agency's principal mechanism for consultation with the education sector and has been running since 2005. The JET comprises senior figures and representative bodies from all parts of the education sector, including higher and further education, and it and its sub-groups meet on a regular basis.

The UK Border Agency has engaged intensively with the education sector, through sector-wide forums to meetings with individual educational institutions. In addition, the UK Border Agency ran a series of events across the UK, specific to the education sector, during November and December 2008 and will continue to run targeted communications and events throughout 2009.