Whilst trying to appear tough on immigration in the run up to a general election, Gordon Brown has announced plans to review the student visa system – again. Instead of questioning whether properly scrutinising visa applications and international students’ finances might not a better way of reducing abuse of the system, it has been suggested that the minimum level of the course for which international students can apply should be raised to degree level. A-Levels and International Foundation Programmes would no longer be an option, putting hundreds of jobs at risk. Whilst Mr. Brown might not care about the further education sector, one might expect him to think slightly more about the impact on universities, the majority of which will probably experience a major fall in international undergraduate recruitment.
If you have a moment and would be willing to help remind the PM of the economic and cultural value of international students, there is an e-petition on the Number 10 website. (Miss C says pleeeeease sign it or she might cry.)