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Genuine Indian students kept out by UK agency

Officials at the UK Border Agency (UKBA) sat over more than 150,000 complaints of non-European students breaching their conditions of study, Britain’s chief inspector of immigration John Vine said on Thursday, prompting a senior MP to accuse the agency of putting off genuine Indian students.

Vine criticised the UKBA in a report for failing to act on tip-offs provided by colleges and universities who, under a student sponsorship system, are meant to notify the agency whenever non-EU students do not enrol, stop attending courses or breach visa rules.

Vine said the agency had no targets in place for responding to such tip-offs. “As a result, notifications… were not being acted upon.” At one point a backlog of 153,000 such reports had built up, said Vine, whose team examined work at three UKBA offices in Sheffield, Beijing and Delhi. However, by May this year, all outstanding tip-offs had been acted upon.

“The UKBA is clearly not fit for purpose,” said Keith Vaz, the Indian-origin MP who heads the British parliament’s committee on home affairs.

“This shambles is putting off genuine students from India choosing Britain as their destination for studies, and it is no wonder applications from India have declined. The home secretary needs to sort this out.”


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