The UK Border Agency has barred 450 education providers from sponsoring new international students. The move is meant to stop abuse of the student visa system.

It has been estimated that these colleges brought more than 11,000 students to the country each year.

New Border Agency regulations have significantly raised the standards education providers must meet before they can bring international students to the UK. The colleges lost their right to recruit international students since they had failed to sign up for the new inspection system. The new standards will also ensure that genuine international students receive the highest quality education.

"Too many institutions were offering international students an immigration service rather than an education and too many students have come to the UK with the aim of getting work and bringing over family members. Only first-class education providers should be given licences to sponsor international students," said Immigration Minister Damian Green in a statement.

He asserted, "We have curbed the opportunities to work during study and bring in family members. We have also introduced new language requirements to ensure we only attract genuine students whose primary motivation is to study."

Fifty-one colleges lost their licences to recruit international students after a targeted probe into more than 100 colleges. The probe followed a spike in applications from South Asia just before the English language requirement rules had been tightened. More than 4,500 of these applications were refused or withdrawn as a result.

The UK Border Agency has also created a list of more than 2,000 banks and financial institutions which can no longer provide evidence to verify a student has sufficient funds to pursue a course. If a bank is on the list, a student citing that institution will not be granted a visa.

The move is seen as another attempt to control immigration.

Earlier, the Tier 1 visa category, previously known as the "highly skilled worker" visas, was turned into "exceptional talent" visas - available only to entrepreneurs, investors, artists, academics, scientists and other people of exceptional talent. Also, the Tier 1 (Post Study Work) visa will be scrapped from April 2012.