* Students will be able to check online whether they qualify for visa before applying
ISLAMABAD: The British government announced the extension of the Points Based System (PBS) for UK visas to students on Wednesday, a statement by the British High Commission (BHC) said.
It said the new system would mean greater transparency for students, who would be able to check online whether they qualify for a student visa before applying, and would help stamp out bogus colleges that abuse the system.
Under the new system, universities and college must take greater responsibility for their international students as they may face a ban on bringing students over if they fail to follow the new rules, including alerting the UK Border Agency (UKBA) if students stop attending classes.
The new system, known as Tier 4 of the Points Based System, would require all colleges and universities interested in recruiting foreign students to have a license to do so and every student would also need a licenced sponsor. “There will also be stricter checks to make sure that students actually study once they arrive in the UK, and do not work illegally,” the BHC said.
As in Tier 1 of the Points Based System, which replaced the old Highly Skilled Migrants Programme in June this year, applicants will be able to check that they meet the criteria using an online calculator, saving them the visa fee if they find they do not.
The students must also be sponsored by a UKBA-licensed educational institute and will have to obtain an identity card to lock them to one identity. Without a ‘confirmation of acceptance for studies’ issued to students by their sponsoring institute, a student’s visa application will not be considered. It will also act as a pledge from the college that they accept responsibility for the student while he is in the UK.
Earlier this year the government announced a special visa category allowing successful international students who have graduated from a British university to work in the UK for up to two years. staff report, Daily Times, 31/7/2008
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