The Government has made significant increases in UK immigration policy in recent months as part of the coalition's efforts to bring net migration down to the 'tens of thousands' but while the Government have found it easy to brush off criticism from immigration advocates and universities who are feeling the impact, the Government this week has had to endeavour to quash the concerns of potential users of the system.
The Government's restrictions to UK visa and immigration policy include removing Post Study Work privileges and salary caps. Immigration Minister Damian Green has spoken of his confidence that the changes will eventually take effect despite rising immigration figures and the complaints of immigration advocates and education establishments who claim the changes will cause signifcant damages to the UK's multi-billion pound international education industry.
UK Immigration Minister Damian Green has put out an appeal to foreign students to come and study in the UK despite changes to policy which have reportedly damaged the country's international reputation....read more.
A Chinese journalist took an opportunity to ask the minister for sport, Hugh Robertson, why so many Chinese citizens, including prominent ones, were being denied a UK visa despite having already bought tickets for the upcoming Olympic Games...read more.
Recently released UK immigration figures from the Office of National Statistics have revealed revised figures for migrant populations in many British cities, including London...read more.
Damian Green appeals to foreign students
Immigration Minister Damian
Green says international
students are still welcome.
UK Immigration Minister Damian Green has put out an appeal to foreign students to come and study in the UK despite changes to policy which have reportedly damaged the country's international reputation.
As part of the coalition Government's attempts to bring down net migration, the Government has introduced new restrictions to UK immigration policy which include the removal of Post Study Work rights for foreign students.
A coalition of Britain's universities wrote to Prime Minister David Cameron to remove international student figures from net migration statistics in line with the country's competitors in the international education market, a move dismissed by Mr Green.
Mr Green has insisted that the changes will not affect the multi-billion pound industry and that the changes are only intended to clamp down on abuse of the system by foreign citizens using study as a cover to actually just find work in the UK.
"We have changed the system to cut out the abuse," said Mr Green. "We have changed the system to skew it towards the best students, skew it towards universities.
"But doing that at the same time as cutting out abuse is a nuanced message to send out," said the immigration minister, adding that the Government was doing 'a lot' to change the perception the UK was unwelcoming to international students.
"I think the sensible thing to do is to let the system bed down while we relentlessly go round the world saying the brightest students and the best are as welcome as ever to Britain.
"Please come, we have got some of the world's best universities."
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Government denies Chinese UK visa snub
London is expecting hundreds of
thousands of visitors during the
A Chinese journalist took an opportunity to ask the minister for sport, Hugh Robertson, why so many Chinese citizens, including prominent ones, were being denied a UK visa despite having already bought tickets for the upcoming Olympic Games.
The journalist, Zijang Wang from the Xinhua news agency, said there was a growing concern on the Chinese social networking site Weibo that people hoping to attend the London Olympics next month were having their UK visa applications denied.
Zijang Wang said many of the rejected applicants were prominent Chinese citizens who had already purchased their tickets and had been given no explanation as to why their applications had been rejected.
Mr Robertson said there was no discrimination in processing visa applications and that each case would have to be looked at individually to determine why it had been unsuccessful.
"Anybody can be denied, but they are rejected for a reason, that can be investigated," said Mr Robertson.
Official Home Office figures show that almost 40,000 UK visa applications from China had been approved in the first three months of 2012 but did not state the rejection rate. In 2011, just 10,000 were rejected, compared to over 200,000 approvals.
"There has been no change in the rules for the Olympics, everything is the same and every application is considered on its merits," said a Home Office spokesperson.
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UK immigration figures revised up
Revised figures from the ONS
include an increase in migrant
Recently released UK immigration figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) have revealed revised figures for migrant populations in many British cities, including London.
The revised figures could be embarrassing for the Government, who have consistently reiterated their desire to bring net migration figures down to the 'tens of thousands' by the next election.
While the figures have revised the population of London up by 130,000, it is the increase of a migrant population by 16% to over 900,000 people which have given some cause for concern.
Sir Andrew Green, chair of the anti-immigration watchdog MigrationWatch UK said the revised figures were damning proof of a failed UK immigration system:
"The impact of immigration on London has been revised up by 130,000 to very nearly one million in just five years.
"This is a measure of the huge churn in our population as a result of mass immigration which has serious consequences for our schools, housing and health services."
The figures, which are yet to be officially adopted by the Government, are likely to further fuel a Government capitalising on Labour Leader Ed Miliband's admission this week that Labour got it wrong allowing unchecked migration to the UK under Tony Blair.
While Sir Andrew's group advocates an even tougher and more stringent immigration system, the coalition has already made significant changes to UK visa and immigration policy since entering government yet have been criticised for cutting too hard too quick and, with more figures contrasting the Government's promises, it may be time to consider a different approach.
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- Dominic Ladden-Powell is the Online Editor for the UK Visa Bureau.
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