Suella Braverman eyes crackdown after ‘massive increase’ in number of student visas being issued in Britain as Home Secretary insists it’s ‘legitimate’ to question ‘low-quality’ colleges offering a route to the UK

  • Suella Braverman promises to ‘look at’ low-quality colleges offering route to UK
  • Home Secretary pledges to take ‘more discerning’ approach to student visas
  • She notes there’s been a ‘massive increase’ in the number of foreign students

Home Secretary Suella Braverman tonight promised to ‘look at’ low-quality colleges offering people a route to Britain through student visas.

Speaking at a fringe event at the Tory conference, Mrs Braverman pledged to take a ‘more discerning’ approach to the number of student visas being issued.

Home Office figures show there were more than 485,000 sponsored study visas, including dependants, granted in the 12 months to June this year.

This was 71 per cent more than in 2019, which was the last full year before the Covid pandemic, and the highest on record.

The numbers were boosted by new post-Brexit requirements for European students to apply for visas in Britain.

Mrs Braverman acknowledged there had been a ‘massive increase’ in the number of foreign students coming to the UK.

She insisted it was ‘legitimate to question whether that’s actually going to serve our economic objectives’ and that it was right to consider the ‘quality’ of courses being studied.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman pledged to take a ‘more discerning’ approach to the number of student visas being issued

The Tory conference event, hosted by the Young Conservatives, saw attendees listen via ‘silent disco’-style headphones

‘We’ve got a manifesto commitment and it was a promise of Brexit to reduce overall immigration numbers,’ the Home Secretary told the event in Birmingham, hosted by the Young Conservatives, which saw attendees listen via ‘silent disco’-style headphones.

‘That’s where I think we should be looking more at low-skilled workers. I think we should be looking more at students.

‘We’ve had a massive increase in the number of students coming into this country.

‘Students are a great thing because they’re coming here to study and get skills.

‘Maybe they’ll contribute skills in this country, maybe they’ll back go to other countries or their own country to contribute skills and that’s a really good thing.

‘I do think we do get to a point where we have to look at some of the courses that people are doing in this country, some of the institutions – they’re not always very good quality.

‘I think it’s legitimate to question whether that’s actually going to serve our economic objectives.

‘Taking a more discerning, smart approach to the number of student visas I think is highly consistent with our agenda for growth.’

Home Office statistics show there were more than 485,000 sponsored study visas, including dependants, granted in the 12 months to June this year – the highest figure on record

Chinese and Indian nationals together comprise almost half (48 per cent) of all student visas issued in Britain

According to Home Office statistics, there were nearly 118,000 student visas granted to Indians in the 12 months to June this year.

This was an increase of more than 80,000 compared to 2019, with Indians now surpassing Chinese as the nationality with the highest number of UK student visas.

Chinese and Indian nationals together comprise almost half (48 per cent) of all student visas.

The Home Secretary also promised to look at other visa routes being used by migrants to come to Britain as she vowed to ‘inject some balance’ into the immigration system.

‘I think we should inject some balance because there are many benefits to migration – people coming here with skills to contribute to the economy is a good thing,’ she added.

‘We’ve also got to be honest that many, many, many more people coming here – net migration is very high and it’s increased as well – puts pressure on our services, on our housing and on our community relationships.

‘I think saying that is entirely legitimate.

‘Therefore moving towards a balanced approach where we welcome highly-skilled migrants who are contributing to various sectors in our economy – while also making sure we have a balanced approach to low-skilled migration and overall numbers – I think is entirely feasible.’

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