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More than 12,000 international students affected by UK visa crackdown
Lucy Miller

More than 12,000 international students in the UK might have been negatively affected after a government crackdown on visas, according to new reports.


459286799Students from overseas who were enrolled at 65 private colleges and three universities in the UK lost their places after the government took away the institutions’ visa sponsorship last June.


Now a new report from the National Union of Students (NUS) has revealed that the majority of students might not have had their tuition fees refunded.


Government sponsorship of students at the private colleges and universities was removed last year as part of a crackdown on immigration fraud, which was designed to stop people living in the country illegally.


It began in June with the three universities (West London, Bedfordshire and Glyndwr in North Wales) after allegations of English language and other qualifications being falsified, and spread to other institutions across the country.


At the time thousands of students were told to find another course of study within 60 days or leave the country, and a group was set up to assist 5,000 students in finding new programmes.


However, the majority of the courses available to students would not have started until the following year – and the website set up to assist them was not even operational until mid-November, five months after the students’ original places were lost.


The NUS is now also suggesting that the number of students affected could be closer to 12,000 – more than double the number originally thought, meaning around 7,000 could have slipped through the net and received no help at all.


The NUS survey, which questioned 288 of those affected, found that none had received a refund of their tuition fees.


55% had not requested a refund, according to Times Higher Education, probably because their college had been closed down, whilst 31% had been refused and 14% offered money that they hadn’t yet received.


Only 7% of the students surveyed had found another place to study in the UK, with 25% being refused entry to alternative courses. The majority of students (68%) had not sought out an alternative course elsewhere.