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Tier 4 Student Credibility Pilot: Analysis of Quantitative and Qualitative Data

NCJ Number
Paul Hill
Date Published
July 2012
37 pages
This report from the United Kingdom's Home Office presents the results of a pilot study designed to analyze the value of using interviews in the application process for student visas.
The current application process for Tier 4 student visas in the United Kingdom involves a points based system (PBS) which is used to test the potential credibility of an applicant's intention to study their proposed course, intention to leave the country at the end of the course, ability to maintain themselves and their dependents for the duration of the course, and their ability to study the proposed course. This study examined the possibility of using interviews in addition to the PBS to screen the credibility of these applicants in following the rules set forth in their visa. The pilot program allowed Entry Clearance Officers (ECOs) in a number of overseas ports to interview a sample of applicants who had already been granted their visas about their intentions for their course of study and stay in the United Kingdom. The results of the sample interviews show that the ECOs could have potentially refused visas to 32 percent of the applicants already granted visas based on their lack of credibility in their interviews. The results also indicate that about 61 percent of applicants to privately funded colleges could have been refused visas on credibility grounds after the interview, compared to 14 percent of applicants to universities. In addition, potential refusals on credibility grounds were found to be high for those seeking diplomas (56 percent), those studying business/administration courses (48 percent), and those studying banking/finance related courses (42 percent). The primary purpose of this study was to determine the need for giving U.K. Border Agency officials additional powers for refusing Tier 4 student visa applications in order to reduce the number of immigrants who violate the terms of their visas. Tables, figures, and appendixes