Huppert acts to help schools threatened by new visa rules

April 3, 2010 4:06 PM

Julian HuppertA leading Cambridge language school could lose more than £500,000 of its income this year and up to 30 students a day under new government visa rules.

Studio Cambridge in Station Road has called on Julian Huppert, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Cambridge to step in after the government changed the rules for foreign students coming to the country to study English.

The new regulations mean that students from outside the EU wishing to stay for six months or more need to have an intermediate understanding of English even to apply for a visa.

These rules affect all the language schools in Cambridge and across Britain and could result in the loss of £400 million in tuition fees and 3,400 jobs nationwide.

Studio's Managing Director, Malcolm Mottram, claims the new rules are ludicrous and a knee-jerk reaction by the government to the immigration issue.

Mr Mottram said: "This is a ridiculous situation which is proving a real problem for us; but it will be worse for Cambridge and Britain as a whole.

"It will become known in countries across the world that to study English in England you need to speak English! Students will go to the USA, Canada, Australia, Ireland - anywhere except the UK.

"The government is worried that studying in the UK is an easy route for economic migrants, but there is no proof of that. This is just a knee-jerk reaction from the government to the immigration issue, and their language is highly charged and emotive: people who were once welcome visitors are now 'migrants'."

Julian has expressed his concern on how the new rules will affect Cambridge language schools, in a letter to Borders and Immigration Minister, Phil Woolas. Mr Woolas is urged to review this "poorly thought out policy".

Julian said: "This decision by the government to change the rules has serious implications not only for the language schools but for the economy of Cambridge and the UK as a whole.

"Many of these students would have gone on to study at university and this will result in a billion pounds of lost tuition fees. While in Cambridge they stay with local families bringing much valued income; that too will be lost.

"This is a poorly thought out policy put together with little concrete evidence to back it up. It needs to be revisited before the UK loses talented students from overseas who will go to friendlier countries instead."

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