LONDON - UK Border Agency has announced a targeted interview system for students concentrating on high-risk applicants. Under the new rules, students from high-risk countries, including Pakistan, will be interviewed and asked a number of questions about their immigration and education history; study and post-education plans; and financial circumstances.
Border Agency sources told Pakistan Today that they are expected to interview up to 14,000 students in the next 12 months. Visa Officers will have the power to refuse visas if they believe that a particular applicant is a not genuine student. Moreover the UK Border Agency introduced a new minimum income threshold of £18,600 for sponsoring settlement of a spouse, partner or a proposed civil partner of non-European Economic Area (EEA) nationality; the income threshold for children to be sponsored would be £22,400 for one child with an extra £2,400 for every additional child.
Under new rules in effect from July 9, the government has extended the minimum probationary period for settlement for non-EEA spouses and partners from two years to five years, to test the genuineness of their relationship. Elderly dependants will be allowed to settle in the UK only where they can demonstrate that, as a result of age, illness or disability, they require a certain level of long-term personal care that can only be provided by a relative in the UK, requiring them to apply from overseas rather than switching in the UK from another category.
Announcing these changes, UK’s Immigration Minister Damian Green said that with more interviews and greater powers to refuse bogus students we will weed out abuse and protect UK from those looking to play the system. “Under the current system UK Border Agency officers are unable to refuse some applications even if they have serious concerns over the credibility of the student. We are toughening up the system to ensure genuine students benefit from our country’s excellent education sector, Britain is open for business to the brightest and the best migrants but the message is clear - if you lie on your application form or try to hide your true motivation for coming to the UK then you will be found out and refused a visa,” said Damian Green.