14 February 2014 #Immigration
UK immigration continues to be a controversial issue. The BBC`s Panorama programme has recently highlighted alleged abuses of the student visa system, including cheating in English tests and falsifying documents in order to provide illegal entry to the UK. Footage shows “fake sitters” with perfect English taking speaking and listening exams in the place of candidates, as well as the invigilator reading out the correct answers to the questions of a writing test to enable the candidates to copy them down. The programme also reported the selling of fake bank details to prospective students to show they had enough funds to stay in the UK.
According to news reports, the Home Secretary, Theresa May, has suspended English language tests set by American-based company Educational Testing Service (ETS) pending an investigation and has temporarily withdrawn accreditation from a series of colleges and immigration advisers.
According to the Guardian, student visas are the largest source of non-EU migration into the UK with almost 210,000 Tier 4 visas issued to students in 2012.
Under the Immigration Rules, students applying for a Tier 4 (General) visa must have a place at a Home Office-approved college or university, which must ensure that they can speak English to the required standard. In addition, students must evidence that they can pay their course fees and living costs.