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UK visa rules may force Chinese student exodus

[ 2010-12-15 15:13]     字号 [] [] []  
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Tens of thousands of Chinese students in the United Kingdom (UK) could be forced out of the country if a basket of strict visa policies takes effect next year.

The UK's Home Office intends to tighten visa regulations for international students to reduce the country's annual net migration and cope with high domestic unemployment.

The Home Office has posted a consultation on its website to seek public opinion about the proposal until Jan 31, 2011.

The regulations would cancel the Post Study Work (PSW) policy, which grants foreign graduates of specified courses up to two years of free access to the labor market.

It also raises the English-language requirement for many foreign applicants from level B1 to B2. B1 is equivalent to an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score of 3.5 to 4.5, while B2 is equivalent to an IELTS score between 5 and 6.5. "Students now represent the largest proportion of net migration from outside Europe," the Home Office said on its website.

"We need to ensure that the number of international students coming to the UK is broadly in balance with the number leaving," it continued.

"There is concern that the UK is attracting students who aren't always the brightest and the best in recent years. The government wants to ensure that those who enter on a student visa come here to study, not to work or with a view to settling here."

The Home Office said too many students, and especially those studying at private colleges at non-degree levels, are not in compliance with their visa terms.

If the policies were adopted, at least 20,000 Chinese students may have to leave the UK in coming months as their visas expire, the Beijing-based Mirror Evening News reported on Tuesday, quoting sources from the British Council in China.

About 85,000 Chinese are in Britain on student visas. About 20,000 are taking language classes or other courses beneath the bachelor-degree level.


1. How many Chinese are in Britain?

2. How many Chinese students may have to leave?

3. What IELTS score is equivalent to a B2?


1. 85,000.

2. 20,000.

3. 5 to 6.5.


(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

UK visa rules may force Chinese student exodus

About the broadcaster:

UK visa rules may force Chinese student exodus

Lee Hannon is Chief Editor at China Daily with 15-years experience in print and broadcast journalism. Born in England, Lee has traveled extensively around the world as a journalist including four years as a senior editor in Los Angeles. He now lives in Beijing and is happy to move to China and join the China Daily team.