UKBA faces criticism over UK student visa issue

# 2 min read 04/09/2012

The UK Border Agency (UKBA) has faced harsh criticism – being attacked by a committee of MPs over its handling of the UK student visa system as poorly planned and ill-thought-out”, and creating “chaos”.

A report published by the Public Accounts Committee stated the introduction of the points-based visa in 2009 without the appropriate implementation of controls was “extraordinary.”

The reports come amid eye-openers that are difficult to ignore – in particular the loss of the London Metropolitan Universities sponsorship license which means it will be unable to sponsor students outside of the EU and will leave 2,000 international students facing having to go home if they are unable to find alternative sponsorship.

The UKBA has defended its position stating that the decision was the “correct course of action” and that it would “strongly contest” any legal action. However, the London Metropolitan University launched legal action stating that there was no evidence to warrant the suspension of its license.

The Public Accounts Committee report advises that in the region of 40 – 50,000 UK immigrants under the UK student visa route abused the system by working rather than studying. The Public Accounts Committee state that the changes bought in by the UKBA led to a direct abuse of the system and a surge in the number of UK student visas. The report goes further stating that whilst most international students do abide by the UK rules and regulations of their student visa, the UKBA was slow at identifying and dealing with those who abuse the student visa route.

“Even where it has been told by colleges that so-called students are not studying, it has been unacceptably slow to act. The UKBA must take urgent enforcement action to remove them. This would also send a message to other would-be migrants that the student route is not an easy option for those with no intention of studying.”

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