Sunday, January 31, 2010

UK suspends accepting student visa applications in North India

The British High Commission in Delhi has announced that it will temporarily stop accepting student visa applications under Tier 4 of the points based system at visa application centres in New Delhi, Chandigarh and Jalandhar. This is because of a sudden spurt in the number of applications over the last three months. The UK Border Agency, which enforces immigration and customs regulations, and considers applications for permission to enter or stay in Britain suspects that there are a large number of fraudulent applications and the time out will allow the agency to carry out checks. We took this decision in response to unexpectedly high numbers of student visa applications in northern India over the last three months. The temporary suspension will allow UKBA to continue to scrutinise applications thoroughly and to manage the visa process efficiently, Deputy High Commissioner Nigel Casey said at a press conference on January 30, 2010 at New Delhi.

Significantly, the number of applications received between October and December 2008 has been 13,500 up from 1800 over the same period last year. Some applicants are trying to abuse the visa procedure to get entry into UK for purposes other than studies. We cannot allow this to happen, UKBAs regional director Chris Dix said. Asked what kind of abuse the authorities have come across, Dix said probably certain education agents in north India were misleading the students by telling them that they can get entry to the UK for other purposes by using the student visa route. We want to ensure that student visa system attracts bona fide students, he said.

The suspension may continue till the last week of February, Casey said. During this period , the visa centres will not accept applications from customers. However, visa application centres in west and south India will continue their operations as usual. During this period, the UKBA will undertake thorough scrutiny of the applications to ensure that the applicants are bona fide students and they have the financial backing to continue their studies in Britain. The authorities will also ensure that the education providers in the UK are following rules. The rise in number of applications has affected the customer service also, Casey said. Asked the reason for such unprecedented increase in visa applications, Casey said education in the UK is preferred by Indian students. The decline in number of student visa applications to a few other countries could have contributed to the rise, he said.

Source: The Economic Times, January 31, 2010

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