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Bogus Colleges

Volume 532: debated on Monday 12 September 2011

Since May 2010, the UK Border Agency has revoked the sponsor licence of 69 institutions. Our recent reforms of the student route include the introduction of new oversight provisions and a requirement for all sponsors to become highly trusted.

In addition to the Government’s new reforms of the student route, what enforcement action have the Government taken to tackle abuse in the student visa system?

The UK Border Agency has been active in relation to the new rules that have been introduced and is looking at a number of colleges. In addition to the licences of 69 colleges and education providers being revoked, the total number whose licences have been suspended—of which that 69 forms part—is 145. We take very seriously the need to monitor the obligations that we have set out.

Order. I gently remind the Home Secretary that her answer should be pertinent in the context of tackling bogus colleges.

The most up-to-date figures do not cover the last 12 months. What we saw as a result of the last Labour Government’s policies was net migration going up. Dealing with bogus colleges and education providers is part of our way of bringing it down.

The Government must, of course, tackle bogus colleges, but also minimise the impact of their plans on private organisations such as the Organisation for Tourism and Hospitality Management, which is based in my constituency. It cannot now provide work experience to students—often they are from the US—even though it has a good record of students returning at the end of their studies.

I thank my right hon. Friend for raising a specific case, which we will look at. We are very careful in the rules that we introduce. My hon. Friend the Minister for Immigration and I spend a lot of time listening to individual colleges and to representative bodies of colleges and education providers to ensure that we get it right. We want to ensure that people get a proper education when they are here. That is what our rules are focused on, but I would be happy to look at the case that my right hon. Friend has raised.