Immigration Wary of Visa Abuse by Students

Dec 21

There are an increasing number of young people from abroad applying for visas to study at universities in the UK, and while those in the education industry, such as representatives from are hailing it as a massive success when it comes to the standards of teaching available at the universities in this country, those concerned about immigration are much more wary when confronted with the figures.

The number of student visitor visas has risen sharply – a person with this kind of visa is able to enter the country for a period of up to 11 months, as opposed to the much longer term visas needed for most university courses – but these visas are much easier to get hold of than their longer term counterparts; applications for which dropped by over a quarter for the same period, down to around 211,000.

According to education authorities, this is due to tighter controls being put in place by the UK Border Agency, and between February and May, for the first time ever there were fewer long term visas issued than there were student visitor visas.

A report from the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, John Vine, suggested that the UK government should be monitoring applications for visas more carefully.

“The number of SVV applications was on average 28% higher between January and June 2012 than during the same period in 2011,” Vine said.

“We found a potential risk of non-genuine students opting to apply for SVVs instead of Tier 4. SVVs are not subject to the same stringent rules that are applied to Tier 4. The UKBA needs to be alert to this to ensure that this route is not exploited in the future.”