New rules for PBS student applicants come into effect 30 July 2012
Overview of changes:
From 30 July 2012, Entry Clearance Officers must be satisfied that the applicant is a genuine student (similar to the student rules in effect prior to the introduction of the PBS system). This requirement will not be applied to a national or the rightful holder of a qualifying passport issued by one of the relevant competent authorities listed in Appendix
H (the so-called “low-risk” countries – please refer to the UKBA website for further details). In addition, Entry Clearance Officers will have the power to refuse an application if the applicant, without providing a reasonable explanation, fails to comply with a
request made on behalf of the Entry Clearance Officer to attend for interview.
The text below announcing the changes was taken from the UKBA website.
09 July 2012
Following a successful pilot, 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 the pilot, around a fifth of the applicants were refused entry to the UK based on their interview. 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.