A change in the law to allow Education Scotland to charge for inspecting private colleges and language schools has been approved by the education committee. The regulations will now be sent to the Scottish Parliament for ratification.
The move to tighten the rules around private colleges' ability to hand out visas to overseas students follows revelations that a number of "bogus colleges" were being used to flout immigration procedures.
"Private colleges must be inspected and then present the report to the UK Border Agency as part of the evidence the UKBA needs to grant them a licence to bring in non-EU students," said Education Scotland chief inspector Kenneth Muir.
The current legal position prohibits Education Scotland from charging these institutions for its inspectors' services, so no inspections have been carried out, he said.
Education Scotland predicts a typical inspection will take two inspectors three days to complete, charged at pound;1,000 per inspector per day.