‘Travel agents’ tempt students seeking UK visas

* Agent claims recent relaxation in visa rules makes it ideal time to obtain student visa
* Another claims anyone, regardless of age, can obtain visa
* British High Commission spokesman suggests applicants seek guidance from websites, not agents

By Nauman Tasleem

LAHORE: Following the recent relaxation in the UK’s rules for issuing student visas, “travel agents” have started advertising their services to attract students wishing to obtain visas, while a British High Commission (BHC) spokesman has said it is working closely with Pakistani officials to address migration/visa-related issues.

“Travel agents” throughout the city have displayed banners and posters at prominent places to attract students seeking visas. These agents, claiming 100 percent success rate, offer to help the students obtain all the documents required for a visa in exchange for an exorbitant commission. They claim the students do not need to sit the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) to obtain a visa and maintain that age is not an issue. Some agents even claim they would arrange every single required document for a fee of Rs 40,000 to 50,000, while others claim they have contacts in the British embassy that will guarantee a visa.

Ideal time: An agent, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the British government had recently relaxed its student visa policy and it was an ideal time to go to the UK. He said people were very eager for student visas and he received at least 30 to 40 inquiries on a daily basis. “The law and order situation in our country is not good, encouraging people to try and go abroad,” he said, adding the inquiries had increased after the recent attacks. He said students applying for certificate and diploma courses needed to obtain 40 points. “If students secure admission in an A-class college, then they receive 30 points while 10 marks are given on personal data, including education and bank statement,” he said. All the applicant had to do, he said, is provide a bank statement proving they had Rs 1.3 to 1.5 million in their account for 28 days. “We will arrange for a letter of acceptance from UK institutions after the applicant pays the visa fee and our charges,” he said, adding they refunded all the money if the visa request were rejected.

To a question, the agent said certificate and diploma courses were exempt from the IELTS requirement, while it was a requirement for a graduation degree. He said many students were unable to score high marks on the IELTS, so it was recommended that they take admission in certificate or diploma courses.

All takers welcome: Another agent told Daily Times that anyone could get a student visa, even if they are over 30 and have not studied in some time. “We would arrange an employment certificate for him, which would cover his education gap,” he added.

However, the BHC said it did not recognise any agent and was working closely with Pakistani officials to address migration/visa-related issues. A BHC spokesman said the IELTS was not a prerequisite for obtaining a visa, however some universities required it. He said a personal/joint bank statement with a substantial amount of savings was necessary. He said all applicants must provide original documents and evidence must be dated no more than one month before the date of application. He said if the applicant wanted to study a London-based course for 12 months or less, then they required fees + £800 for each month of the course; for 12 months or less in a course based outside, fees + £600/month of the course were required; a London-based course exceeding 12 months required the first year fees + £800/per month for the first 9 months; and an external course exceeding 12 months required the first year fees + £600/month for the first 9 months.

Websites better: The BHC spokesman said the applicants also had to arrange a certificate to show they were free from infectious pulmonary tuberculosis (TB). He recommended applicants to visit websites prescribed by the British government and apply their cases there instead of hiring agents to help them.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2009\10\25\story_25-10-2009_pg13_1

3 Comments

  1. Dr Aqeela

    Dr Aqeela Says:

    Dear sir,

    Subject: Request for information about letter after winning appeal & Time period.

    With humble request, I appealed for student visa against ECO decision from Pakistan last year fortunately , fortunately I won then few days later I received only call from BHC Islamabad on 15 June 2009 and they instructed me to submit my passport including my fresh admission letters at Gerry’s Karachi. But they did not tell me how long I have a time to submit my pasport including fresh admiion letters at Gerry’s Karachi. Since then I have tried to contact BHC Islamalabad and Gerys Krachi but no one replied for that my question yet.

    My question are :

    1. How long I have a time to submit my passport including fresh admission letters at Gerry’s Karachi? because I have missed one session of admission of September Intake 2009 but now I have chance to take admission for January session 2010 . Am I still eligible to submit my passport and get a visa?

    2. How can i obtain letter of success appeal from BHC islamabad because they said me that they had sent me that letter but I had not received that letter? so pls guide me how to obtain that letter again?

    Your Prompt reply will highly be appreciated and look forward to hearing from you soon.

  2. Rafi

    hi friends,
    well im here to inform yew regrding the visa rejection solutions ,if anyone is facing visa rejection problems or any student visa extension hurdles so we can challenge it through official court procedures, and it wont b a time consuming. We have lawyers in UK as well in Pakistan also.

    For more Details u can contact me on
    kabeer_cruise@hotmail.com

    Murtaxa

  3. Farooq Malik

    Dear Aqeela

    If your appeal was approved and you also got a confirmation from the BHC then no problem if you missed the Sep 2009 intake and you can now apply with your fresh letter and apssport in either Jan or Sep intake 2009. If you have any problems or anybody else needs to consult his/her persoanl case, he/she is welcome to contact me for free professional advice.

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