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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

UK.Government announcement on settlement reforms

The Home Secretary has outlined the government's approach to reform of the settlement rules, including a decision not to pursue the 'earned citizenship' policy.
Earned citizenship concerned the path to settlement and British citizenship, and was planned to come into force in July 2011. It will now not be introduced.
Outlining the government's approach to settlement reforms, the Home Secretary said:
'It is too easy, at the moment, to move from temporary residence to permanent settlement. 
'We will not implement Labour's policy of earned citizenship, which was too complicated, bureaucratic and, in the end, ineffective. 
'If people enter this country saying that they will only stay here temporarily, then it is obvious that they should only stay here temporarily. 
'Working in Britain for a short period should not give someone the right to settle in Britain. Studying a course in Britain should not give someone the right to settle in Britain.' 
We will make further announcements in due course. In the interim, the current rules and requirements for obtaining settlement and citizenship will remain in place
Home Office, 07 December 2010
Tougher entrance criteria, limits on work and an end to students staying in the UK to look for a job are just some of the changes proposed by Immigration Minister Damian Green today as part of a shake-up of the student visa system. Launching a public consultation on the reform of the student entry route to the UK of the points-based system - the Home Office also revealed that 41 per cent of students coming through this route were studying below degree level courses. Immigration Minister Damian Green said:

'I believe attracting talented students from abroad is vital to the UK but we must be more selective about who can come here and how long they can stay. 'people imagine students to be those who come here for a few years to study at university and then go home - that is not always the case. Too many students coming to study at below degree level have been coming here to live and work, rather than studying. We need to stop this abuse. 'Today's proposals follow a major review of the system, and are aimed at a more selective system and, crucially, reducing the numbers to meet our target of reducing net migration to sustainable levels.'
The consultation will run for 8 weeks, seeking views on a range of measures to reduce the number of students that can come into the UK. Proposals include:
  • reducing the number of people coming to the UK to study at below degree level;
  • introducing a tougher English language requirement;
  • ensuring students wishing to extend their studies show evidence of academic progression;
  • limiting students' entitlements to work and their ability to bring in dependants; and
  • improving the accreditation process for education providers, alongside more rigorous inspections.
The Government has committed to making changes across the immigration system to achieve its overall aim of reducing net migration, in addition to the introduction of an annual limit on workers from outside the EU. The student route accounts for two thirds of migrants entering the UK each year which is why it is a key focus for reform.
Damian Green added:
'This Government wants high calibre students with the genuine desire to study to come to our country to come for temporary periods, and then return home. We want to hear views of our proposals from a wide range of people so that our reforms meet this objective.'
The new proposals could see Tier 4 - students coming to the UK under the points- based system - restricted to those studying largely degree level courses and to child students, unless the institution is a Highly Trusted Sponsor. English language competence could become the key indicator of someone's eligibility to complete a higher level course and all Tier 4 applicants will have to pass a secure English language test showing competence at intermediary level B2, a step up from the B1 currently required. The drive to ensure students return overseas after their course finishes will mean students will have to leave the UK and apply for a new visa to further their studies, and show evidence of progression to a higher course. It will also see the closure of the post-study route under Tier 1. In addition, the Government will be looking at ways to improve the inspection and accreditation of the education sector, to ensure the courses offered by private institutions of further and higher education are of the highest quality.

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