The changes – which are effective immediately – won’t stop genuine students from travelling to Britain to study but will close an avenue that has been exploited, Home Secretary Alan Johnson said on Sunday.
“There’s an awful lot more of adults, not young people, not coming to study degrees at universities but coming on short courses into this country,” Johnson told the BBC.
Asked if many of those students were “bogus” Johnson said, “Yes, yes”.
Under the new rules, those from outside the European Union who come to Britain for short courses – less than six months – can no longer bring their dependents.
Johnson said the number of hours foreign students will be able to work will also be cut from 20 hours a week to 10, and that a higher standard of English will be required.
Britain’s rules have been criticised for being too lax and open to potential abuse from economic migrants and people with more dangerous intentions.
Last year, a Nigerian man accused of trying to destroy a trans-Atlantic airliner in December had his application for a student visa rejected by the British government.
Johnson said genuine foreign students – who make up about 30% of the people coming into Britain – are still welcome.
“[But] we will come down hard on those that flout the rules,” Johnson said. – AP