A seminar on ‘New Student Visa Rules and Scholarship Opportunities in the UK’ was held here on Thursday to provide students with complete and updated information about rules and procedures for securing admission in the UK universities.
The seminar was organised by Falcon Education and Consultancy Services (private) Limited (FECS) in which a large number of students, educationists and deans and directors of various institutions participated with great interest. The services of FECS are completely free for all students from Pakistan. These services were recognised by the government when Syed Abidi was awarded Tamgha-i-Imtiaz (Medal of Excellence) by the president of Pakistan in 2008.
While giving a presentation, FECS CEO Syed Abidi explained in detail through power point slides the changes made by the UK Border Agency, especially focusing on TIER 4 Student Visa, which has replaced the old system on March 31, 2009.
He said under the new TIER 4, students would be awarded 40 points to be successful for an adult student visa and universities in the UK would now be known as sponsors and would take full responsibility as a host for all overseas students divided in three categories, including adult students, child students and prospective students.
All students accepted by UK sponsors would be issued with a CAS or visa letter, which would carry 30 points and would be a must to apply for a visa, he said. However, he said, the students would have to satisfy the education providers that he or she is a bona-fide and genuine student both in academic and financial terms.
“The new system if implemented in true spirit will weed out non-genuine students and facilitate bona-fide students without the support of agents or consultants,” he said.
Syed Abidi said in the new system, there is no need for providing six months bank statements or proof of property or assets and the student would be required to satisfy the ECO that they have sufficient funds to cover the cost of their courses. The tuition and living cost would be calculated as it has now been categorized on the basis of zones inside or outside London, he added. He also explained the responsibility and obligation of students when they arrive in the UK and stressed that the new points based system allows the university and UK Border Agency to monitor and keep a track of all overseas students, which has made it easier to track non-genuine students.
Replying to a question raised by a student, he said that the points based system would help students apply on their own without hiring the services of agents and consultants who earlier used to fleece and charge horrendous amount of fees for processing visas.
However, he expressed his reservations on the timeframe to process applications especially in the light of already running HUB and SPOKE Programme whereby hundreds of students last year suffered due to delay in processing of their applications.
To another question, he said if the university in UK is satisfied that the student has necessary command over English language and issues an offer letter then the high commission would not insist or compel to produce English proficiency certificate such as IELTS and TOEFL. He warned if any student submits fake work paper or gives false information it would bar him for ten years to apply to UK Border Agency for any kind of visa. In the end, he said, reputable consultants working for UK especially under Pakistan National Education Consultants Association (PNECA) should greatly benefit from points based system and should play a key role in improving the quality of applications.
Rakhshanda Khushal, director marketing (education) at the British Council, highly appreciated the presentation and said it was very well explained and the students should widely benefit in preparing their visa applications under the points based system. She also thanked the students for coming to the seminar and hoped that they would choose the UK as their destination.
The FECS, in partnership with UK universities, has so far awarded scholarships worth 35 million rupees to genuine and deserving students from Pakistan.
Source: The News, 10-Apr-09