Immigration officials refusing visas even to genuine students

Britain `losing thousands of overseas students’

7th December 2009: Britain has apparently opened a new chapter of losses. A report suggests the country is losing tens of thousands of overseas students all due to slip-ups and unhelpful behaviour of the immigration officials.

The report assumes significance in light of the fact that overseas students contribute £8.5bn a year to the British economy. Their fees amount to 8 per cent of the total income of British universities.

The study, by the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA), says the immigration officials, working for the UK Border Agency in embassies and high commissions, are misconstruing the new rules. In the process, they are refusing visas even to genuine students.

All this started with the introduction of the points-based immigration system in March. Designed to discourage fake students and prevent terrorists from entering the country, it is proving counter-productive due to the misinterpretation of rules.

The study says it has even deterred bona fide students from coming to Britain. For reaching the conclusions, the study talked to 2,777 international students applying for a student visa between July and September.

The study found two-fifths of the students experienced difficulties or encountered errors or obstructions.

Check before you travel on Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 December 2009

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