Just under 8,000 student visas issued
11 November 2009: Soon after Home Secretary Alan Johnson claimed visa waiting time for Pakistanis would go down from two months to15 days, Labour peer Lord Ahmed is pushing for repayment of fees to Pakistani students who could not take admission in British varsities due to visa delays.
Lord Ahmed was quoted by The News as asking: How many Pakistani students have missed their university deadlines and have lost their fees and scholarships due to the backlogs and delays in Abu Dhabi? How many people are waiting for visa endorsements in Islamabad after winning their appeals in British courts in the last six months?
Lord Ahmed wanted to know whether the government refunded fees for all the `victims of our failure’ who missed the deadlines, medical check-ups, university courses, family weddings and professional jobs.
Responding to the assertions, Home Office minister Lord West of Spithead agreed there had been delays in the visa operation in Pakistan, particularly in issuing visas, resulting from successful appeal decisions and some applicants have been inconvenienced as a result.
There are 10,000 students currently studying in the UK and in the first nine months of this year just under 8,000 student visas were issued, he said.