This week, the UK Immigration Minister Damian Green announced that a targeted interview system for students will be introduced, with the aim of concentrating on high-risk applicants.
The new scheme will be launched in the next few months, although we do not have an exact date as yet. Applicants will be asked questions about their immigration and education history, study and post-study plans, and financial circumstances.
The UK Border Agency anticipate interviewing up to 14,000 students in the next 12 months and will not grant a visa to any candidate who they believe is not a genuine student.
An interviewing pilot was carried out by the UKBA last year to tackle concerns about the legitimacy of some applicants. More than 2,300 student visa applicants were interviewed in 13 overseas posts with the aim of testing how effective face-to-face interviews would be.
Under the pilot, around a fifth of the applicants were refused entry to the UK based on their interview. According to the Home Office, one of the main issues was the inability of interviewees to display the required level of English; “some were unable to answer basic questions in English without the aid of an interpreter – despite stating on their application forms that they had the necessary language qualifications to study at higher and further education standards in the UK.”
How will this affect you?
We would advise any non-EEA nationals who are applying from abroad for a UK Student Visa to ensure that they are thoroughly prepared in case of an interview. They should be able to provide clear answers to questions about their immigration history, study plans and how they will be maintained financially whilst in the UK.