Sunderland college cleared for overseas students

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A COLLEGE has been given the go-ahead to continue educating international students.

The Government announced that 474 colleges had been banned from bringing foreign students into the UK as part of plans to control immigration.

The colleges either failed to sign up to the new inspection system or had their licences revoked after an investigation by the UK Border Agency.

However, Nigel Harrett, vice principal at City of Sunderland College, said its licence has been renewed and it still holds Highly Trusted Status from the Border Agency.

He said: “We work closely with partners to deliver most of our international programmes in host countries.

“Where students do study at the college’s campuses here in the UK, these are generally higher-level students that have been through a strict application and vetting process, which helps us to ensure that we only recruit students with the motivation to study.”

East Durham College, which is based in Peterlee, is not affected by the situation because it does not currently recruit any international students.

The Government has taken the steps to ban the hundreds of colleges from recruiting international students in a bid to crack down on the abuse of the immigration system.

In the 12 months to the end of June, 304,548 student visas were issued nationally, including 33,342 with dependants, along with 36,018 student visa extensions, which included 19,416 with dependants, Home Office figures showed.

The 474 colleges which have now been banned from recruiting international students could have brought more than 11,000 of them into the UK each year, the Home Office said.

During the college inspections UK Border Agency officers found some could not produce any records of student attendance, others failed to show they checked student qualifications and one could not even produce a list of students enrolled or a timetable of classes.

Immigration minister Damian Green said widespread abuse of the student visa system, the most common way for migrants from outside the EU to get into the UK, had gone on for too long.

He said: “Too many institutions were offering international students an immigration service rather than an education and too many students have come to the UK with the aim of getting work and bringing over family members.”

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