Tough UK visa tests for Pakistani students

13 Apr 2012 | Posted by Carl Thomas

Tough new UK visa tests are to be introduced for Pakistani students after research revealed that almost half of applicants in this route could be bogus.

Figures compiled by the Home Office revealed that as many as four in every ten applicants for student visas might be unsuitable yet are still being passed through the system.

As a result, home secretary Theresa May has called for UK Border Agency officials to pay closer attention to Pakistani applicants. In practical terms, this will mean that anyone from the country who is looking to study in Britain will be interviewed by agency officials before a UK visa is granted.

At the moment, applicants might be interviewed in their home country but only if their application raises suspicions. The majority of cases are filed through paperwork alone.

It was a pilot scheme conducted by the Home Office that caught the home secretary's attention and prompted the change in legislation. The pilot found that if every applicant was required to have a face-to-face interview before being awarded a UK visa, up to 43 per cent should be rejected.

A lack of English language skills was cited as the most likely reason for people being turned down.

While this pilot was specifically in regards to UK visas for Pakistani applicants, the Home Office has now extended the scheme to look at 14 other countries, including Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and China.