· Determined terrorists can subvert security checks to obtain student visas
Thousands of bogus students are free to enter Britain despite new laws aimed at tightening controls on immigration due to weaknesses in the student visa system.
The Times has revealed that hundreds of colleges approved by the Home Office to accept non-European Union (EU) students have not been inspected by it’s officers. It has also emerged that the vast majority of non-EU students would not be interviewed by the Home Office but admitted on the basis of written applications and evidence of sponsorship, educational qualifications and bank statements. John Tincey, the Immigration Service Union chairman, said the failure to include interviews could be exploited by terrorists. Under the present system, universities, colleges and schools must register with the Home Office to accept students from outside the EU and must agree to alert the Home Office if a student fails to register, stops attending classes or if a course is shortened. The new regime came in two weeks ago and is intended to end a scam in which thousands of foreigners enrolled at bogus colleges to work in the UK.
According to the report, the problems in the visa are highlighted by the fact that until 2005, there was no official register of education providers — allowing anyone to set up a so-called college and accept overseas students. Under the new system, only universities and colleges officially registered with the Home Office will be able to sponsor students from overseas..
Fake colleges: Last week’s terror raids revealed the questionable nature of some Manchester colleges catering to for international students. At least one of the arrested students, Abdul Wahab Khan, 26, was registered as an English language student at the Manchester College of Professional Studies, which closed after a raid by the Home Office last year. An earlier report revealed the college had sold hundreds of places on fake courses to young men in the NWFP at £50 a head. A former associate of Bashir and Khan told The Times the vast majority of their college’s students had never attended the college because they were all working full-time to earn money.Daily Times, Pakistan Observer