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.