Tier 4 Fears: Why government student visa proposals are unfair
Current plans are to remove altogether the right for non-EU international students studying at private colleges to work. This means prospective students will not be given working rights if they choose to study a degree designed and marketed by a university but taught at a private college. International students at public colleges and universities will still be allowed to work part-time.
As a result private HE colleges will be put at a major disadvantage at a time when the government is seeking to encourage greater diversity of provision and increased competition in higher education. High quality private sector colleges have proved they can provide a low cost solution for expanding higher education by working closely with UK universities. However, many private sector colleges fear that the government’s plans could force them to close down in the next 12-18 months.
With the minor changes to the proposals we suggest the government can ensure that genuine students who want to come to the UK to study are not deterred by draconian rules and quality private sector HE providers can continue to serve them.
Director and Chief Executive, CentreForum
- There should not be any discrimination in immigration law between private and public sector HE colleges. If a private sector college can prove it has a good record in admitting genuine students then its students should be allowed to work part-time just as they are at public colleges.
- The government should strengthen the student visa regime by allowing the universities that award degrees through private sector colleges to sponsor student visas directly at those colleges. This would mean that universities would only choose partnerships with reputable colleges or they would risk losing their right to sponsor visas with working rights.
If a student gets sponsorship for their visa from a university then they should be allowed to work part-time, regardless of whether they are taught their degree at the university or through one of the university’s private sector partners. Discriminating against students at private sector colleges is unfair and will deter many international students from studying in the UK. The goverment's proposals will also put at risk the future of the very colleges the government is seeking to promote to provide greater diversity of provision and increased competition in the UK domestic market.