Huppert takes visa rules fight to Immigration Minister

July 27, 2010 11:28 AM

Julian HuppertMP Julian Huppert yesterday (Monday, July 26) met Immigration Minister, Damian Green to fight again for the future of Cambridge language schools after the government overturned a High Court ruling.

Julian joined English UK Chief Executive, Tony Millns and succeeded in urging Mr Green to think again about a change in the visa rules which means overseas visitors coming to the UK to study English have to have a good grasp of the language.

English UK, the national association of accredited English language centres, had won a judicial review in the High Court to scrap the changes.

Judge, Mr Justice Foskett said that the language rules should revert immediately to the basic level.

But the government overturned his decision, reinstating the changes which threaten language schools in Cambridge and nationwide and could lead to thousands of job losses.

Julian said that the meeting with Mr Green was productive and the decision will be reviewed with the result expected in October.

"These changes pose a serious threat to language schools in Cambridge and across the country," said Julia "I expressed my deep concerns to Mr Green and urged him to think again about this issue.

"It makes no sense to expect students applying to study English in the UK to have a good grasp of the language. This clearly defeats the object.

"If we do not make these people welcome we will lose them to countries across the world that are more accommodating. This puts thousands of jobs at risk and clearly damages the UK's standing as a world leader in education. This cannot be allowed to happen."

Mr Millns suggested to Mr Green two criteria for assessing visa applications.

• that the applicant has recently completed high school education in their own country, equivalent to AS level in the UK;

• the educational profile would be higher for those countries identified as high risk.

"Higher education is critically dependent on international student fee income," he told Mr Green. "If universities lose international students, jobs will go, courses will close and choice will be denied to UK students whose places are subsidised by the higher fees paid by international students."

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