Letter: Entering grey areas

November 30, 2001

The article "Bogus students abuse visa rule" ( THES , November 23) does not raise the issue of students who come to the UK to earn and learn.

Some overseas students stay a long time because of the UK's strong economy and the reputation of its higher education. In this, they are encouraged by a partially unregulated labour market, easily acquired student ID cards, the near-impossibility of taking registers in lectures, credit-transfer systems and lifelong-learning frameworks.

Some find jobs before they register with a university and then try to transfer to a work permit and part-time studies.

How much this is related to higher fees for overseas students, how much to global labour migrations and how much to exploitation of universities by black marketeers requires more discussion.

Sheila McCallum
Thames Valley University

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