23 April 2009

UK visa grants go to "risky Pakistani students" over the phone

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The Home Office revealed that a UK visa can be approved to risky Pakistani students after a telephone interview, reports The Telegraph.

The Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has had to defend the UK visa system after allegations that the security system was not stringent enough to keep terrorists from having a UK visa application approved. 

Recently, 12 suspected terrorists came in the UK on a UK student visa (now Tier 4 of the new UK immigration system). 

Keith Vaz, Home Affairs Select Committee chairman said that concerns had been raised several times regarding the approval of UK visas for entry clearance in Islamabad, particularly because routine interviews are not commonplace there.

However, Ms Smith stood by her position, saying that interviews are only necessary for those risky UK visa applicants and the new biometric system should work to prevent others not wanted in the UK from infiltrating the UK immigration system.

"I do think rather than interviews in every single case ... it's better to have the robust set of information that we now have, the biometric information, and to be able to focus interviews where necessary, telephone interviews where appropriate, on those people who are most likely to be risky."

While UK visa applications are now having their final checks in Abu Dhabi, Pakistan offices are still checking biometric information and documents on home ground.


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