Universities call for end to UK’s ‘subjective’ visa decisions

MillionPlus wants end to judging visa applicants on which university they plan to attend, to ‘credibility interviews’ and to 10 per cent refusal rate threshold

March 13, 2019
Judgement

The UK government should stop judging overseas student applicants on the university they plan to attend, end the use of “credibility interviews” and scrap the 10 per cent visa refusal threshold for individual universities, according to MillionPlus.

The association of modern universities outlines a series of proposed changes to the Tier 4 student visa regime in a policy paper, arguing that “with the sector and government working in genuine partnership with a common goal” it would be “much easier to invest in and grow overseas student numbers coming to the UK”.

Critics of the Home Office’s student visa regime have argued that applicants to post-92 universities are more likely to have their visa applications rejected than those who seek places at more traditional institutions.

The current system “does not deliver for the UK: it is unduly subjective, inequitable, and can act as a non-tariff barrier to trade in educational exports”, says the MillionPlus paper, published on 13 March.

The first proposed change would see the introduction of new out-of-country provisional visas, issued by UK Visas and Immigration before a prospective student applies to their chosen university. At present, applicants first apply to a university before they are referred to UKVI.

In the second proposed change, MillionPlus calls for the phasing-out of credibility interviews for visa applicants, which it says are “the main element of the current process that is most open to subjectivity” and have “seen the most arbitrary and egregious decision[s]”.

And in the third proposed change, the group says that the current visa refusal rate threshold – under which universities lose their licence to sponsor overseas students if more than 10 per cent of their overseas applicants are refused a visa – should be abandoned.

“With the removal of interviews and the 10 per cent threshold, therefore, we are proposing that a context-based approach, involving greater dialogue between all parties concerned, would serve as a far better measure of compliance than a 10 per cent threshold,” MillionPlus says.

Under its proposed system, “a university would meet at pre-set intervals with UKVI to provide information on compliance and would be assessed on all necessary measures (be they refusal rate, enrolment rate, completion rates etc) in a more holistic and rounded way, which would put context and planning at the heart of the system”, the group adds.

Greg Walker, MillionPlus chief executive, said: “International students contribute to the vibrancy and diversity of our campuses, support tens of thousands of jobs and generate £26 billion for Britain’s economy. Politicians and the public are united in agreement that international students have a huge positive impact on the UK in many respects, something confirmed by the recent Migration Advisory Committee report.

“But rather than helping enable that growth, the current Tier 4 student visa system merely hampers it with smothering bureaucracy and over-reliance on credibility interviews that hinge on the subjectivity of UKVI and Home Office processes. These problems hit some universities more than others. This cannot be right: a reboot of the system is much needed.”

john.morgan@timeshighereducation.com

Please login or register to read this article.

Register to continue

Get a month's unlimited access to THE content online. Just register and complete your career summary.

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Related articles

Reader's comments (1)

My life was destroyed when my husband sent me packing, after 13 years we have been together. I was lost and helpless after trying so many ways to my husband back to me. One day at work, I was distracted, not knowing that my boss called me, so he sat and asked me what it was all about, I told him and he smiled and said it was no problem. I never understood what he meant by it was no problem getting back my husband, he said he used a spell to get back his wife when she left him for another man, and now they are together till date and initially I was shocked hearing something from my boss. He gave me an email address of the LORD NOBEL which helped him get his wife back, I never believed that this would work, but I had no choice coming into contact with the sayings that I get done, and he asked for my information and that my husband was able to propose to throw him the spell and I sent him the details, but after two days, my mother called me that my husband was pleading that he wants me back, I never believed, because it was just a dream and I had to rush off to my mother's place and to my greatest surprise, was kneeling my husband beg me for forgiveness that he wants me and the child back home, when I gave LORD NOBEL a conversation regarding sudden change of my husband and he made clear to me that my husband will love me until the end of the world, that he will never leave for another woman. Now me and my husband is back together and started doing funny things he has not done before, he makes me happy and do what it is supposed to do as a man without nagging. Please if you need help of any kind need, please contact LORD NOBEL for help. His email is lordnoblespellcaster@hotmail.com or lordnoblespellcaster@gmail.com or you can call or whatspp him on this number + 1(817)755-0129

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most commented

Sponsored