Friday, June 27, 2014

Home Office War On Tier 4 Sponsor Colleges And Universities

Cynthia Barker writes...It's war on private colleges again, as the Home Office discovers thousands of fraudulent English certificates as students apparently working in the UK illegally under Tier 4 student visas.

Okay, the Home Office hasn't actually declared war on education providers, but with the government struggling to meet net migration targets by 2015, students and colleges are the next target.

Earlier this week, Immigration Minister James Brokenshire stood up in Parliament and announced an inquiry into abuse of the student visa system after finding evidence of criminal activity, and added that several colleges and universities had been suspended from sponsoring non-EU students.

The minister revealed that out of 48,000 English certificates used to extend leave in the UK, 29,000 were invalid and 19,000 were "questionable".

Mr Brokenshire is pointing the finger, not at the Home Office caseworker who accepted the fake certificates when issuing UK leave to remain, but at the universities and colleges who also took them at face value.

UK Border officers found evidence of "serious concern" at some university campuses, and the Home Office has downgraded Glyndwr University in north-east Wales from a "highly-trusted sponsor" of Tier 4 student visas.

The Home Office has suspended Tier 4 Sponsors licences of 57 private further education colleges, and two universities - the University of Bedfordshire and University of West London - are suspended from sponsoring new students pending further investigations.

The certificates were issued by rogue colleges who gave the answers to students sitting English tests. How would a college or university admissions officer know that the tests were fake?

He added that LSBF, a large private college in London, had hundreds of students who were working, even though their visas should not allow work. However, if the CAS was issued by a university using LSBF as a London campus, then work would be allowed.

LSBF has issued a strongly worded statement of protest to the Home Office, but will probably face a large legal bill as the lawyers rub their hands with glee!

If you need advice on any immigration matter, including overstaying your visa, EU or UK immigration law, or want to appeal against a refusal, call Cynthia Barker on 07850 307687 or 0208 731 5972 or email her your details to Cynthia Barker is a qualified OISC Registered Immigration Adviser, with 15 years experience in immigration matters, with a team of Level 3 Immigration Law Practitioners, Concept Care Solutions, Middlesex House, 29-45 High Street, Edgware, HA8 7UU.

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