More than 450 colleges have been banned by the Home Office from enrolling students from overseas in a move to combat abuse of the immigration system, the department said last night.
The colleges would have brought at least 11,000 foreign students a year. Fifty-one have had their licences revoked following a surge of applications from South Asia just before the English language requirement rules were tightened.
Another 400 colleges have lost their right to recruit foreign students after they failed to sign up for the new inspection system.
The Immigration minister, Damian Green, said: "Widespread abuse of the student visa system has gone on for too long and the changes we have made are beginning to bite.
"We have curbed the opportunities to work during study and bring in family members," he said.
"We have also introduced new language requirements to ensure we only attract genuine students whose primary motivation is to study."