• Visa figures show marked fall in migrants

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  • 25 May 2012
  • Comments 9 comments

The number of UK student visas issued to foreign nationals has dropped by a fifth this year, according to new figures from the Home Office.

Work visas were also down by 8 per cent, the number of family visas granted fell by 16 per cent and extensions to stay decreased by 10 per cent in the 12 months to March 2012, compared with the same period a year earlier.

Yesterday’s Home Office figures accompanied the release of migration data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS), which only measured up to September last year.

The ONS statistics showed little change in the annual migrant flow up to that point, with estimated net migration recorded as 252,000 in the 12 months to September 2011, compared to 255,000 in the year to September 2010.

But the more up-to-date Home Office figures revealed a marked drop in the number of visas granted in the first quarter of 2012 compared to the same quarter in 2011, with Tier 4 student visas decreasing by 62 per cent.

The coalition said that its reforms to the immigration system – in which it pledged to reduce net migration to under 100,000 annually – were “starting to bite”.

Immigration minister Damian Green said: “Our tough new rules are now making a real difference with a record 62 per cent drop in student visas in the first quarter of 2012, and overall falls in work visas, family numbers and people settling.

“As these policies start to bite we are seeing an end to the years when net migration was consistently on the rise,” he continued. “But the hangover from the old system of weak controls means it is still too high and we will continue our programme of reforms to bring net migration down from the hundreds of thousands to the tens of thousands.”

The Home Office figures also revealed that the number of visitor visas issued last year had climbed by 9 per cent, which the government department said showed that the UK was continuing to “attract tourism and stimulate growth”.

However, critics argued that the relatively stable ONS figures meant that immigration reforms had so far had little impact.

Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper claimed that the government was “failing badly on its own immigration target”.

“These figures show that promise is being broken and the net migration figure of 252,000 is barely changed in the last two years, even with the net rise in British citizens leaving the UK,” she said.

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  • The fees are high and the visa rules are revised like the Post study work, so it is but natural that international students will switch to some other countries like USA, Canada or Australia. <br/><br/>In such a situation, I believe: <br/><br/>1) an applicant whether it be a student or a working professional must consider the necessity (wants) and benefits of staying abroad before making an application to the Home office. <br/><br/>2) Students should trace an alternative may be like studying (Master / MBA) in their home country since many top ranked UK universities are affiliated with local institutions; working professionals can find better opportunities in their home country and they may earn less (compared to London) but will save more money. Furthermore, this will also save accommodation costs and applicants can visit their home more often. <br/><br/>Actually, after globalisation everything is available everywhere so there is no need for migrating to foreign lands, it only results in being an expensive affair.

  • the decision about the post study is really not cool on the part of students. foreigners spend huge some of money to learn and get nothing after it. the country is trying to reduce the number of immigrants but students should not be affected at least they could reduce the number of years not calling it off today. am a student and i know what others are feeling. most people have directed their study to another country which would benefit the country and it would make it grow.

  • I applied for Tier 1 Post Study Work in February and still waiting for my documents with no job nothing here and I have to go back home urgently but UKBA is not providing any status of the application made within last 6 mths.<br/><br/>Can anyone please let me know how long they are taking in deciding Post Study Work applications...Its been three months that I have made the application and 2 months since my Biometrics was done. Is it taking even longer than 3 months. If anybody has any information..Please help !!

  • Well spotted - article now corrected, thanks.

  • Well, it is ok for government to say that they are trying to bring down the number of illegal immigrants. But in my experience and that of some of my student colleagues, some of the policies are also wrongly targeting genuine immigrants (particularly students like me and others) who are spending large sums of money on tuition, maintainance and feeding on an annual basis.<br/><br/>Yet, when it comes to our young children joining us or extending visas to continue with the study, we are treated like offenders by way of red tapes and delays after paying hundreds of pounds for the visa (some delays are due to minimal errors on the application)or individuals' banks declining application fees payment due to no fault of their own.<br/><br/>I think it is getting to a point where foreigners will realise that they can get better value for their money on education by going to other countries. Perhaps with that, foreign students, their parents, guardian and sponsors may be treated with more respect.<br/><br/>I think we as foreigners need to start voting with our feet and hard-earned money to sponsor our wards' education elsewhere, e.g go to other countries rather than UK, except the UK govenment put policies in place that recognises foreign students contribution to UK in general and its economy in particular; and that we are not all "here to stay" in the country as the public is made to believe, but that many are here improve ourselves and go back home.<br/><br/>Foreign students deserve better treatment, visa extension should not stress us as much as it does at the moment and I think we are being excessively charged for visas that should have been given for the whole period of study in the first place.

  • Has Teresa May been replaced? ;-)) Yvette Cooper is Shadow Home Secretary

  • Well, another fact which has not surfaced yet is in relation to the decision of visa applications made inside UK; a big fuss prevailed for a week in terms of long queues in London's major airports and the immigration minister flew in staff from as far as Manchester as well as deputed back office staff to bring down the waiting time.  It would be interesting as to how many knew about the 'alarming poor service standard' of UKBA in terms of processing visa applications.  With respect to the currently closed Tier 1 Post Study Work, the site still reads "Service standards - Our service standards set out how quickly we aim to decide immigration applications.<br/>For applications made inside the UK under Tier 1 of the points-based system, the standard is that we will decide 75 per cent of applications within 4 weeks.<br/>Please note that this date is only a guideline. Some cases may take longer to consider." - Unfortunately, it is not some cases which have taken longer for any specific reasons; all the applications since mid January 2012 have taken at the least three months or more to get processed as opposed to the normal 28 days.<br/>The embarrassment further increases when one comes to know that a similar application made during the same period outside UK as in Ukraine and India got processed under 20 days!<br/>The UKBA site states that “We are currently considering applications where the applicant attended a biometric appointment on or before 12 March.”

  • Poor Home students, no wonder the government increased university fees to £9,000. With international students going elsewhere to study somebody has got to pay the university bills and who else but Home students to pick up the bills.

  • There's fewer work visas being given out because there is no growth in full-time employment levels. This should be a worrying indicator to the government not a cause for celebration.