- for adult students, focusing Tier 4 on higher level courses and those offered by Highly Trusted Sponsors
- introducing tougher entry criteria such as English language competence
- requiring evidence of academic progression for students extending their studies
- limiting students’ entitlements to work and to sponsor dependants
- improving the accreditation and inspection process for education providers
Research published by the Home Office in September 2010 - The Migrant Journey - shows that, despite the high number of people entering the UK on Tier 4 visas, 79% of them had left the country within 5 years. Of the remaining 21%, 6% were still studying and 7% were in work. Less than 5% had been granted settlement.
The indication here is that whilst student visas may account for high numbers of people coming into the country they also account for many of the people leaving the country. The proposed measures under review in the consultation will no doubt be effective in reducing net migration, but will not address the question of migrants achieving settlement. The question of whether reducing the number of people settling in the UK seems to remain unasked for the time being. It will certainly be interesting to see how the the migrant journey looks in five years’ time.