Archive for 'UK Border Agency'

UK Border Agency transition to Home Office

UKBA’s transition to the Home Office

On 1st April 2013 the UK Border Agency was split into two separate units within the Home Office: a visa and immigration service and an immigration law enforcement division.

The rationale is that by creating two entities instead of one, they will be able to create distinct cultures. First, a high-volume service that makes high-quality decisions about who comes here, with a culture of customer satisfaction for businessmen and visitors who want to come here legally. And second, an organisation that has law enforcement at its heart and gets tough on those who break  immigration laws.

Over time  the content from the UK Border Agency’s website will be moved to the Government’s digital service at In the meantime, new and updated content added will reflect the new Home Office structure and brand.

These organisational changes to the UK Border Agency do not affect the validity of any reference to the agency in any document or form on their website. The UK’s Immigration Rules will also remain in force.

New interviews for student visas

This summer, 2012,  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, immigration minister Damian Green announced today. The targeted interview system will be introduced ahead of the summer surge in student applications. Officers will concentrate on uncovering abuse in countries where it has been most prevalent.

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. During the next year it is expected the agency will carry out up to 14,000 student applicant interviews.

Following a successful pilot, UK Immigration Minister Damian Green has announced that a targeted interview system for students will be introduced this summer and will concentrate on high-risk applicants.

If you are a student, you may be interviewed and asked a number of questions about your immigration and education history, study and post-study plans, and financial circumstances. We expect to interview up to 14,000 students in the next 12 months. We will refuse visas if we are not satisfied that you are a genuine student.

Immigration Minister Damian Green said: ‘With more interviews and greater powers to refuse bogus students we will weed out abuse and protect the UK from those looking to play the system.

‘Under the current system UK Border Agency officers are unable to refuse some applications even if they have serious concerns over the credibility of the student – we are toughening up the system to ensure genuine students benefit from our country’s excellent education sector.

‘Britain is open for business to the brightest and the best migrants but the message is clear – if you lie on your application form or try to hide your true motivation for coming to the UK then you will be found out and refused a visa.’

Today’s announcement follows an interviewing pilot carried out by the 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 would be – in addition to existing strict application processes that consider fraud and other factors.

Under a pilot system carried out by the Home Office late last year, around a fifth of the applicants were refused entry to the UK based on their interview. The Home Office concluded that one of the main issues was the inability of interviewees to display the required level of English. Some were unable to answer basic questions in English without the aid of an interpreter – despite stating on their application forms that they had the necessary language qualifications to study at higher and further education standards in the UK.

Other government .  Over 450 colleges are no longer able to bring in students from overseas. In addition the number of student visas issued has fallen by 21 per cent over the last year. The new powers will come into force on 30 July 2012.

Tier 4 Sponsors Student Visas update

Educational oversight of Tier 4 sponsors: enhanced role for QAA and ISI.

In March the Home Secretary announced changes to Tier 4 of the points-based system for student visas.

A key part of the reforms is to strengthen the conditions which an education provider has to satisfy before they are allowed by the UK Border Agency to ‘sponsor’ an international student to study in the UK. This involves the oversight of their education provision and their compliance with immigration requirements.

As regards educational oversight, they announced that from the end of 2012 all sponsors would need to have had a satisfactory inspection or review by one of a number of specified bodies who are involved in the delivery of the regulatory framework for educational standards in the UK (‘the educational oversight bodies’). The full list of approved educational oversight bodies is set out. This is a shorter list than the previous one.

The UK Border Agency announces that the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) and the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) have agreed in principle to extend their activities to carry out additional reviews as follows:

QAA will review:

other private higher education providers offering courses normally awarded in accordance with the Frameworks for Higher Education Qualifications; and

’embedded’ colleges offering courses as a pathway into higher education.

ISI will inspect privately funded further education colleges offering courses on the QCF/NQF, and also English language schools.

This forms the enhanced role for QAA and ISI.