TOUGHER rules have been brought in to stop people abusing the student visa system to remain illegally in the UK, reported BBC on Sunday. British Home Secretary Alan Johnson said 30 per cent of migrants who came into the UK were on student visas and a number were adults taking short courses, not degrees. Under the new rules, applicants will need to speak English to near-GCSE level and those on short courses will not be able to bring dependants. The Home Office would not confirm reports the changes may cut visas issued this year by tens of thousands. A spokesman said a review of student visas had been ordered in November. In 2008/9, about 240,000 student visas were issued by the UK. News of the new measures comes a week after student visa applications from Nepal, northern India and Bangladesh were suspended amid a big rise in cases. Last year the UK introduced a system requiring students wishing to enter the country to secure 40 points under its criteria. However, the government has faced criticism that this has allowed suspected terrorists and other would-be immigrants into the UK, only for them to stay on despite their visas being temporary. Speaking to BBC, the home secretary denied the system had been lax before. We closed down 200 bogus colleges, he said. By 2011, we will have the most sophisticated system in the world to check people not just coming into the country but to check they have left as well. He said the UK remains open to those foreign students who want to come to the UK for legitimate study. The biggest hole in the student visa system is caused by the Tory and Labour abolition of exit checks, which means we do not know if someone has left once their visa runs out, he said.