UK student visa freeze: Govt to try to help students
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Last Updated: Sunday, January 31, 2010, 23:34
  
New Delhi/London: The Indian government on Sunday said it will try to help UK visa-seeking students hit by Britain's freeze on their applications at three centres in the northern region.

Along with northern India, student visa applications from Bangladesh and Nepal too will not be accepted temporarily from February one by Britain which feared foul play after it faced an alarming increase in student visa applications, according to British media reports.

Britain also warned of tough action against those indulging in illegal way of getting student visas. The decision is expected to be reviewed at the end of February.

"I would want to tell the Indian students that they(UK) have said that it will take some time(to resolve the matter) as a lot of applications have been sent. So, be slightly patient," Minister of state for External Affairs Preneet Kaur told reporters.

"Hum koshish kaarenge ki unki(students) bhi koi chance lagey aage jaane ki liye(We will try to see that the students have some chance to take forward(their visa applications)."

As against 1,800 student visa applications received at the three centres--Delhi, Chandigarh and Jalandhar--between October and December 2008, the corresponding months in 2009 saw as many 13,500 applicants.

British officials feared that unscrupulous agents are preparing to push thousands of south Asian students into bogus colleges in the UK, the media reports said.

The officials said UK Border Agency system has been overwhelmed and there are concerns many cases are not genuine.

Jeremy Oppenheim of the UK Border Agency said: "We continually check and monitor all student applications and education providers to ensure that they meet the required standards. We will take tough action against those who attempt to abuse the system."

"The points-based system gives us the flexibility to act, to maintain the integrity of the visa system, whilst processing legitimate applications fairly, thoroughly and as quickly as possible," Oppenheim said.

The suspension of the applications follows recent media reports that unscrupulous businessmen are helping thousands of migrants from India and Pakistan to secure a seat at bogus colleges in Britain.

PTI


First Published: Sunday, January 31, 2010, 23:34


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