59% of Indian students entering the UK likely to be 'bogus'

India News Bulletin Desk

As many as 63,000 bogus students could have entered the UK in 2011, a study by Migration Watch UK has revealed. Highest percentage of bogus students came from Burma (62%), followed by India, Nigeria and Bangladesh at 59%.

The study by the independent and non-political organisation -- based on Home Office’s pilot scheme designed to assess a student’s credibility -- concluded that the UK government has “bottled out on bogus students”.

The Home Office pilot scheme involved two tests – one, whether they were genuine as students and two, whether they intended to return home after their studies.

The scheme revealed that 62% of Burmese students and 59% of Indian, Bangladeshi and Nigerian students would have been refused a visa on doubts about their credibility.

When these proportions were applied to the number of applicants from each country in the pilot, it emerged that the total came to 63,000 potentially bogus students in just one year.

Following this pilot, the Home Office introduced plans to interview 10,000 students a year and has set out the criteria on which they will be judged.

“But it is now clear that the government has lost its nerve and has dropped the second test (intention to return) from the student interview scheme which comes into force as the end of July,” according to Migration Watch UK.

Of the total number of bogus students, 61% were applying for privately-funded colleges, 17% for a publicly-funded college and 14% for a university.

“Bogus students come here to work illegally and thus take jobs from British workers,” said Sir Andrew Green, Chairman of Migration Watch UK. “If it is clear from the circumstances that a student is unlikely to go home, the visa should not be granted in the first place.”

Green further pointed that many of the advantages claimed for foreign students depend on their going home after their studies.

“These half measures simply will not do,” Green came down on the government. “The government have bottled out on bogus students,” he concluded.

Separately on the petition by business leaders urging the UK government to take students out of net migration, Green said that it is impossible to take students out of net migration because, unlike the US and Australia, the UK still has no exit checks. This means it is hard to know how many immigrants who came as students have actually left the UK and this lack of exit checks incentivises people to remain in the country illegally..

“It seems that business leaders are clueless about immigration policy and will sign whatever is put in front of them,” he said.

Also read: Home Office toughens interview systems for student visa applicants.

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