Theresa May has announced that from April 2013, more than 100 000 student visa applicants would be interviewed by border officials in an effort to put an end to the use of student visas as a “backdoor route” to work.
Last year, the UK Border Agency ran a pilot scheme where around 2 300 applicants from high risk countries were interviewed to ascertain their knowledge of English, and quiz them on the details of the course they were planning to study.
According to May, the pilot scheme revealed that paper-based checks were simply not working and that interviews were the way forward.
Mrs May said the coalition had been left to deal with the consequences of more than a decade of uncontrolled, mass immigration, and while there will be no cap on the number of legitimate student visas granted, drastic steps will be taken to stop abuse of the system. According to the Home Secretary, the government wants to strike a balance between encouraging bright and legitimate students and ensuring visas are not a backdoor route into Britain.
“I can announce that, from today, we will extend radically the Border Agency’s interviewing programme,” said May.
“Starting with the highest-risk countries, and focusing on the route to Britain that is widely abused, student visas, we will increase the number of interviews to considerably more than 100 000, starting next financial year. From there, we will extend the interviewing programme further across all routes to Britain, wherever the evidence takes us. I believe this new approach will help us to root out the abuse of British visas, and improve the integrity of our immigration system.”
For advice or information on UK visas, please visit www.1stcontactvisas.com.