Britain’s visa rules have “not been relaxed” and applicants can apply direct for a UK visa, said UK Border Agency South Asia and Gulf Regional Director Chris Dix, according to a report in the Daily Times today.
In response to a news item “Travel agents tempt students seeking UK visas”, he said the rules had been toughened on October 1 with the introduction of the maintenance rules, requiring funds to be held for 28 days.
“All applications are subjected to thorough document checks – including bank statements and education certificates. In addition, applicants must pass tough checks that we have introduced around the world for anyone applying for a visa to enter the UK – [in which] we check biometric data (fingerprint scans and photographs) against the UK police and immigration databases,” Dix said.
He said guidance was available for those applying for a UK visa. “We have taken every step to ensure that the student visa rules are clear, with advice on the application process available on our websites (www.ukvacpk.com; www.ukvisas.gov.uk). It is important that the applicants do not follow the misleading advice of some agents.”
Choose agents carefully
He said if applicants wanted additional advice, they should choose an agent carefully.
“Agents should charge a reasonable fee. They cannot guarantee that someone can get a visa – they have no influence over the visa decision. Applicants should not allow agents to submit false information or forged documents on their behalf – they will be refused, and they will be banned from travelling to the UK for 10 years,” he said.
Dix said the UK welcomed genuine international students who wanted to make the most of an unparalleled quality education system in the UK.
“The UK Border Agency is working hard to reduce processing times for visa applications and is committed to providing an efficient visa operation for all customers in Pakistan.” he said. Source: Daily Times
Immigration Matters Comment
Reputable bona fide educational and visa agents can provide a valuable service for both educational establishments and students.
Mr Dix is correct in advising students to choose an agent wisely. Anyone applying for a visa to the UK has always had the option of dealing directly with the British Embassy, however, the forms and rules can be daunting so many seek advice locally.
Visa and immigration consultants are regulated in the UK by the OISC, but this does not cover advice given by overseas agents.
Prospective UK students who would like to appoint an agent in their own country should ensure that the agent:
- officially represents the educational establishment
- are a legally registered business or company
- works from an office premises (this could be from home)
- has a successful track record in arranging visas
- charge reasonable fees applicable to the local market
- provides written terms and fee schedule
NEVER send money to a visa consultant or agent you have not checked out or met.
NEVER allow an agent to submit false documents on your behalf (you will not be able to hide behind this excuse) as such action will lead to a refusal and a ban from applying to the UK.
If you need any immigration advice or help with Studying in the UK, Settlement, Citizenship, Sponsorship, extending Work Permits, Visa or an appeal against a refusal please email: