UK restricts students' right to work

Updated: 2015-07-15 07:43


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UK restricts students' right to work

A British univeristy's employee talks to a Chinese stduent at an international education expo in Beijing on Oct 25,2014. [Photo/CFP]

Chinese students who study in Britain won't be affected much by new rules on the right to work announced on Monday by James Brokenshire, the security and immigration minister.

Beginning in August, students from outside the European Union who come to study at publicly funded further education colleges will lose the right to work for up to 10 hours a week.

More measures will be introduced in the fall, including preventing college students from applying to stay on in Britain and work when they finish their studies, unless they leave the country first.

Further education students will be unable to extend their studies unless their college has a formal link to a university.

Study visas at the further education level will also become valid for a maximum of two years rather than three.

The British Home Office said that the "new crackdown on visa fraud" is aimed at ensuring that student visas are used for study and "not as a backdoor to the country's job market".

While more than 130,000 Chinese students study in Britain, not so many of them are in further education colleges, according to the International Student Internship Scheme, a company that helps international students to find internship experience in the United Kingdom.

The number of foreign students at British further education colleges has slumped in recent years from a peak of more than 110,000 in 2011 to 18,297 in the past 12 months, according to media reports.

The new rules have caused misunderstanding among Chinese students who thought that all non-EU students will be barred from applying for jobs in the UK when they finish courses.

"Except students in further education colleges, other Chinese students in universities won't be affected by the new policy," one senior analyst noted.

The loss of the right to work could cause financial hardship.

"For students in further education colleges, losing the right to work means some of them will face a greater burden because tuition fees are expensive, and they will face more difficulties, since they have to leave the country before being able to return to apply for a job," said Peter Liu, a senior immigration lawyer in the UK.

However, the Association of Colleges warned that the government measures risked restricting Britain's ability to attract international students.