Ahead of the summer surge in student visa applications UK Border Agency officers will be given new powers to interview international students and refuse visas if they are not satisfied the applicant is genuine, the Immigration Minister Damian Green announced today.
Between 10,000 and 14,000 students to be interviewed over the coming year
Across the globe high-risk applicants will be identified and asked a number of questions about their immigration and education history, study and post-study plans, and financial circumstances.
Immigration Minister Damian Green said: ‘We are toughening up the system to keep out the fraudulent and unqualified while ensuring genuine students benefit from our country’s excellent education sector.’
Today’s announcement follows a successful pilot carried out by the UK Border Agency last year to tackle concerns about the legitimacy of some applicants.
More than 2,300 student visa applicants were interviewed in 13 overseas posts with the aim of testing how effective face-to-face interviews and new refusal powers would be - in addition to existing strict application processes that consider fraud and other factors.
Protecting colleges and universities
These new measures will help us protect unsuspecting colleges and universities, who have made offers to students in good faith, from unscrupulous agents and those looking to play the system. The new power to refuse will supplement our existing student policies and act as a safety net to filter out any remaining abuse.
Under a further change introduced today, it will also be possible for an official to refuse entry to an applicant who fails to attend an interview without providing a reasonable explanation.