Announcing details of tighter rules for international students from India and elsewhere, British Home Secretary Alan Johnson said bogus students will find it difficult to gain entry and work in the UK illegally.
Johnson, who announced tightening of the student visa regime on Sunday, said genuine students will continue to be welcome.
The details announced on Wednesday comes days after Britain suspended issuing student visas in north India, Bangladesh and Nepal, suspecting large scale irregularities.
The new regulations will ensure that students studying below degree level have a limited ability to work in the UK, and that their dependants cannot work here at all.
It will be even harder for bogus students, whose only aim is to work in the UK, to come into the country, he said.
The new measures for students include: a good standard of English; restricting the lowest level courses to only the most trusted institutions; halving the amount of time a student studying below first degree level or on a foundation degree course will be able to work, to just 10 hours during term time.
The steps also include a ban on bringing in dependants for anyone studying a course for less than six months and a ban on dependants of anyone studying a course lower than foundation or undergraduate degree level from working. They will face removal from the UK if found violating the rules, he said.
Johnson said: “The points-based system was introduced to provide a rigorous system to manage legitimate access to the UK to work and study, with the ability to respond to changing circumstances.
“We want foreign students to come here to study, not to work illegally, and today we have set out necessary steps, which will maintain the robustness of the system we introduced last year. I make no apologies for that.”
In addition, the new measures will include: a ban on foreign students studying below degree level if the course includes a work placement — unless that course is being provided by a university, college or training provider, which has the status of ‘highly trusted sponsor.’
There will also be a requirement for students to demonstrate their English language ability by passing an approved secure test — this will apply to all students studying below (foundation) degree level, including those coming to study English language; and Johnson said the changes are part of a radical overhaul of the student system, which began last year.
Since March 2009, the government has required all foreign students to be sponsored by a college licensed by the UK Border Agency, and to demonstrate that they can support themselves once they get here before being granted a visa.