29 April 2010

UK Student Visa rules are of ‘poor quality’, Universities UK say

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Universities UK has advised education providers and institutions not to apply to become a “highly-trusted sponsor” due to the "poor quality" UK student visa rules, introduced without any formal consultation.

UK Student Visa

Universities UK has advised education providers not to apply for a highly-trusted sponsor title under the new UK immigration rules.

The highly-trusted sponsor scheme was unveiled by the UK Border Agency to reduce the red tape for education providers while preventing UK immigration fraud and abuse.

Higher education institutions have a deadline of 30 June to apply for the sponsor scheme.

Critics of the new scheme for UK Student Visa fear that the international reputations of universities will be damaged if they fail to qualify for the annually renewed status.

To be eligible for the highly-trusted sponsor title, sponsors must ensure that no more than three per cent of international students fail to complete their courses, and university staff will have to mount in-depth background checks on prospective students.

UUK has advised members not to apply for the highly trusted sponsor scheme in its current form, after it was introduced without any formal consultation of institutions.

There has been fierce criticism of the government over the student UK visa changes in a House of Lords debate earlier this month from Lord Avebury, Liberal Democrat Home Office spokesman.

The UK Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in  helping people lodging their applications for a UK visa with the British High Commission.  

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