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Huppert backs debate to safeguard future of language schools

June 28, 2010 10:22 AM

Julian HuppertCambridge MP Julian Huppert has thrown his weight behind a House of Commons debate calling on the government to overturn changes to visa rules which threaten the future of the city's language schools.

He urged Immigration Minister, Damian Green to deal with the issue, reminding fellow MPs that it is a serious problem in Cambridge.

"English UK estimates that there are 3,500 jobs at stake, with £400 million in schools and £1 billion in universities, plus the advantages to the households that look after the people involved," he said during the debate yesterday (Thursday, June 24).

Julian has joined forces with five other prominent Liberal Democrat MPs to table an Early Day Motion on the issue warning that "if the government does not rescind this legislation, other English speaking countries will benefit while Britain's vital home grown industry will suffer".

The legislation, brought in by the Labour government, means that students from outside the EU who want to come to Britain need to have an understanding of English equivalent to A level even to apply for a visa.

During the debate James Brokenshire, Under Secretary of State for the Home Office said a number of language schools were challenging the new regulations by judicial review.

And he added: "The Government are committed to attracting the brightest and the best to the UK, which is why we are determined to encourage legitimate students to come here for study.

"The UK is the second most popular destination for international students-second only to the United States. We must therefore ensure that our immigration system does not inhibit the education sector, which we recognise has to compete in an increasingly competitive global market."

After the debate Julian said: "These new regulations are seriously flawed with little evidence to back them up. The UK is in danger of losing talented students from overseas, many of whom would have gone on to study at university."