Left Watch

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The surge in foreign nationals granted student visas - and associated rise in fake colleges - under Labour

Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling has published new research today, based on answers to parliamentary questions, which shows the extent of the surge in foreign student visas under the Labour Government. He has coupled this with new figures concerning the number of bogus educational establishments which are effectively a means of allowing foreign nationals to get a UK visa.

Here are the stark facts:

  • In 1998, 69,607 student visas were issued by the Government; in 2008-09 that had more than trebled to 236,470;
  • There are only 165 universities and Higher Education colleges in the UK, yet as of the beginning of the month, no fewer than 1,925 organisations are approved by the UK Border Agency to sponsor migrant students;
  • Since the end of March alone, fourteen previously approved organisations have been struck off the list, all but one of which because they "had no accreditation" or "failed to meet their sponsor obligations".

Mr Grayling has expressed his concern that those who had already been granted a visa to attend an institution which is no longer recognised can nonetheless remin in the UK and suggests that a system which is seeing one institution struck off the list every eighteen days is in chaos:

“It’s now absolutely clear that not only is the student visa system one of the biggest loopholes in our border control, but that the Government’s tough talk on dealing with the problem has amounted to nothing. We have fake colleges still thriving, we have people using student visas as a way of coming to Britain to work and the situation is utterly chaotic. If Labour are re-elected, the problem will just continue to get worse."

Jonathan Isaby