People from outside Europe wanting to study in the UK will need to meet stricter entry criteria as of next month. The new rules will make it harder for bogus students to enter the country.

Applications for student visas must meet strict rules

The new regulations mean that as of today non-EU students:

  • will be allowed to study below degree-level courses that include a work placement only if the course provider has the status of ‘highly trusted sponsor’
  • will need to complete an English language ability test if studying below foundation degree level

From 3 March, non-EU students may only do limited work in the UK while studying at below degree level. They should not work more than 10 hours a week in term time, but may work full-time in holiday periods. Their dependants will not be allowed to work in the UK unless they qualify in their own right.

Home Secretary Alan Johnson said: “We want foreign students to come here to study, not to work illegally, and today we have set out necessary steps which will maintain the robustness of the system we introduced last year.”

Gaining status as a highly trusted sponsor

New, tougher rules will define which course providers count as highly trusted sponsors of foreign students.

The Home Office will develop the detail of the highly trusted sponsor programme over the next couple of months, to take effect from 6 April 2010.

The Home Office said it expects all publicly funded universities and colleges to count as highly trusted. It will make sure there is a rapid but rigorous system to make sure private training colleges can also gain that status.