Occasional Paper 104 sets out the results of a pilot to interview Tier 4 student visa applicants. The pilot was developed to test the effectiveness of interviewing Tier 4 applicants at the entry clearance stage, and assess the requirement for, and design of, possible additional powers of refusal in this visa category.
It ran from December 2011 to February 2012. Entry Clearance Officers (ECOs) were asked to interview a sample of applicants and record information on these interviews using an online survey tool.
Section 1 provides background information on the current Tier 4 process. Section 2 explains how the pilot worked, including the methodology used and information on interviewees. Section 3 gives details of visa refusals under the pilot using existing PBS rules, and section 4 sets out the results of credibility testing undertaken during the pilot. Finally, section 5 looks at issues around the interview process under the pilot. The Appendices contain additional details of the pilot methodology, profiles of decisions made in posts, some applicant case studies, and a summary of ECOs’ views on the potential benefits and challenges of increased interviewing and credibility testing.