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Student Visas (India)

Volume 556: debated on Monday 7 January 2013

There were 21,295 sponsored tier 4 student visa applications from Indian nationals in the year ending September 2012. We have cut the abuse of student visas, but continue to attract the brightest and best students from around the world.

I thank the Minister for that answer. Does he agree with the Mayor of London that the Government are doing

“things that are going to cause unnecessary alarm and prejudice against the UK”

by targeting legitimate foreign students from India?

No, that is not what we are doing. We want to attract the best and brightest students to the United Kingdom. However, we want to combine that with dealing with the education providers that in the past were not providing education but were in effect selling immigration permits. We have dealt with the abuse and will continue to do so, but we want students from around the world to come here to use our excellent universities. The latest figures show that those numbers are up.

The Minister will be well aware that London Metropolitan university has been affected by a decision that the UK Border Agency made last year. I understand that discussions are going on between the UKBA and the university with a view to seeing whether a system can be brought into place so that tier 4 status can be returned. May I urge the Minister to interest himself in that, to ensure that we get good overseas students into this country and benefiting from higher education here?

The hon. Gentleman raises the case of London Metropolitan university, and he will know that it was not carrying out its responsibilities as a tier 4 highly trusted sponsor, which was why its licence was revoked. He will know that the Government put in place a taskforce to ensure that all the legitimate students were able either to transfer to another education provider and stay in the country or to finish their course at London Metropolitan university. They were all written to last Friday, so they should all shortly be aware of their status in the coming months.