Indians hit by new UK immigration curbs

Indians hit by new UK immigration curbs
London:  New curbs on immigration to the UK will come into force from tomorrow under which the government plans to reduce the inflow by 100,000, a move likely to adversely impact Indians seeking to migrate to Britain.

Under the new regime, the Conservative Party-Liberal Democrats coalition has introduced an annual limit of 21,700 for those coming into the UK under the skilled and highly skilled routes - 20,700 under the skilled route and 1,000 under the new 'exceptional talent' route.

The curbs, which is set to come into force tomorrow, seeks to ensure that visas are issued to only those wanting to study for a degree and eliminating bogus students.

Those allowed in will also have to demonstrate a better command of English than is required at present and will face tighter rules on working or bringing in family members, according to a report in The Daily Telegraph.

The proposals are contained in a review of the student visa regime as part of the government's drive to stop abuse of the system and to help meet its wider pledge of bringing net migration down to the "tens of thousands".

Government has raised the minimum salary for those coming through the intra-company transfer route to 40,000 pounds for more than 12 months.

Figures published last month showed that one in five foreigners who came to study in 2004 were still in Britain five years later.

The review will focus on the tens of thousands of students who come to Britain each year to follow courses below degree level, such as A-levels, vocational courses and even GCSEs.

Some 130,000 such students arrived from outside the European Union last year, almost half the near 280,000 total given student visas.

Of those, more than 90,000 attended private colleges.

Thousands more attended language schools. The new proposals suggest restricting entry "only to those studying at degree level."

"We cannot reduce net migration significantly without tackling abuse of the student visa route," an official source was quoted as saying by the British newspaper.

"We need to consider a number of ways of ensuring that students coming to the UK are genuinely coming as students. By introducing a system that is more robust, the Government is aiming to stamp out abuse while continuing to attract the top students," the source said.

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