Indian student denied entry for want of £20

‘Callous’ Home Office refuses leeway for applicant hit by currency drop

October 10, 2013

Source: Getty

Score to settle: rupee’s loss of value scuppered student’s chances

An Indian student was denied a visa to study at a UK university after currency fluctuations left him less than £20 short of the amount required for living costs.

The student, who had paid his course fees in full, fell foul of Home Office rules stating that applicants must have funds in their bank accounts equivalent to £800 for each month of their courses.

Having deposited enough money to meet the total of £7,200 specified for maintenance, the student was told that his visa application had been denied. This was because he had £7,180.18 in the bank when the total was converted into sterling: £19.82 less than he was supposed to have, according to documents shown to Times Higher Education.

The value of the rupee has fluctuated wildly in the past few months, and it fell by 2 per cent on the day the visa was assessed.

An appeal for leniency by the university, which has asked not to be named, has been refused, with a reassessment of the case in India likely to take up to three weeks, the institution said.

The 22-year-old student paid £300 for his visa application and is unlikely to get his permit in time to start the new term, so his course fees may have to be refunded, the university added.

“A student has put money aside in good faith and has been turned away due to circumstances completely beyond their control,” said the university’s vice-chancellor. “You can understand why you need rules about this type of thing, but there should be some flexibility.”

Other universities were likely to have been hit by similar problems, the leader added.

“The callous way that officialdom appears to be dealing with these students is causing a lot of bad feeling towards the UK.”

Under Home Office rules, students must “hold a specified amount of funds [in sterling] for 28 days prior to making an application”. If the minimum balance dips below that amount at any point during the 28 days, the visa can be denied.

Applicants should take depreciation into account to ensure that they can display “adequate funds” on the date of their application, the rules state.

Edward Acton, vice-chancellor of the University of East Anglia and chair of Universities UK’s task force on the Tier 4 student visa system, said: “If verified, this case would suggest that the Home Office’s policy and attitude is continuing to damage UK universities in Indian eyes.

“The US is sharply increasing its drive for quality international recruitment, and we need a national drive to do the same.”

jack.grove@tsleducation.com

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Reader's comments (2)

haha....in a sensible system we can approve/grant a visa first. Then ask the student to pay the difference of £20. Then the passport is handed to the student. It is a matter of time the Indians build a good Education Quality Assurance system....and then the students can study in India itself. They can in fact invite students from rest of the world to come to India for education.
"It is a matter of time the Indians build a good Education Quality Assurance system....and then the students can study in India itself. They can in fact invite students from rest of the world to come to India for education" Indians have already good national universities-some 50 of them which have strict entry exams; these students who want to come UK universities do so because they cannot even get into any state universities which are tier2 universities there. As for them inviting the rest of the world, Indian universities very often advertise them inviting foreign students to their top national and state universities.. These students come assuming that they will get jobs after their study or many of them think that they can get into good jobs while studying and can drop out. As for these 28 days of keeping the bank balance of funds, there are scams here, as these balances are "lent" by those who get hefty interests , often around 200+% for lending this sum for a short period. Later, the funds would go and the student has only his her meagre funds. which is insufficient for even one year study. Hence , they look for jobs the day they arrive here. These students bringing £13 billions into the economy , often bandied about, has never been properly verified. There is more to this than the sensational story of £20 shortfall. We need to check them as Australia and US do before issuing student visas.

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