UK Tier 4 visa applicants interviews to confirm english ability

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11 August 2012


From 30 July, UK immigration staff at visa offices around the world have had extended powers to reject visa applications if students do not have adequate English language capabilities. The rules are intended to weed out bogus UK visa applicants. This means it is more likely that student applicants for UK Tier 4 visas to study in the UK will be rejected if immigration officers feel that their English abilities are not at a high enough level.

"With more interviews and greater powers to refuse bogus students we will weed out abuse and protect the UK from those looking to play the system," UK immigration minister Damian Green said.

The UKBA said they expect to interview 14,000 students applying for Tier 4 student visas over the next year, more than 5 percent of the 250,000 expected number of visa applicants. The interviews will be targeted at students from countries where risks of abuse are higher and who are applying to institutions that are not on the UKBA's "highly trusted sponsor" list.

The UKBA said its officers will ask applicants questions about their "immigration and education history, study and post-study plans, and financial circumstances". Interviewees must be able to "demonstrate without the assistance of an interpreter" that their English test certificate gives a true indication of their English ability. Failure to do so will result in their UK visa application being rejected.

"Speaking is possibly the most challenging skill to assess. Even when it is carried out by very experienced language teachers, you still need to provide them with specialist training and very detailed instructions," said Mike Milanovic, chief executive of Cambridge Esol, which produces a number of the tests of English approved by the UKBA. He went onto say "You also need an extensive quality management system to back this up. Otherwise, it's almost impossible to deliver a fair, reliable assessment."

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