UK student visa freeze: Govt to try to help students

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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