Compulsory interviews for student visa applicants
12 July 2012
Monday of this week - 9 July 2012 - was a big day for the immigration lawyers calendar, as all eyes were on the introduction of major changes to the current Immigration Rules which came into force that day. You could be forgiven for having missed the announcement by the UKBA on the same day of the introduction of compulsory interviews for those who have applied for a student visa to study in the UK.
The compulsory interviews will start on 30 July 2012 and it is estimated that they will affect 10,000-14,000 overseas students.
The interview will allow the authorities to refuse student visas on the basis of the answers given or if the applicant fails to attend without reasonable excuse.
There has been no clear announcement as to the criteria which will be applied to the interviews or how they will be carried out, although it is expected that student applicants from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Burma, Nigeria and the Philippines will be targeted.
The questions will cover immigration and education history, study and post-study plans and financial circumstances, and will be designed to determine whether the applicant has told the truth about their circumstances and intentions on their application form. In addition, of course, the interview is intended to ascertain whether the applicant has the required level of English.