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December 7, 2009

Britain losing thousands of potential overseas students: Report

     London: Britain is losing tens of thousands of potential overseas students, estimated to contribute 8.5 billion pounds a year to the economy, due to errors and obstructive behaviour by immigration officials, a report said. According to the report tabled by the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA), a large extent of refusal is being attributed to the controversial points-based immigration system, introduced in March, which was designed to crack down on fake students and prevent terrorists from entering the country. The study found that immigration officials at the UK Border Agency in embassies and high commissions are misinterpreting the new rules and refusing visas to genuine students. The study, which questioned 2,777 international students who applied for a student visa between July and September, also found that two-fifths of the students had experienced difficulties or encountered 'errors or obstructions', which resulted in them being refused visas or which put them off studying in Britain. "Nearly everyone got rejected the first time because we did not choose the correct drop-down box in the online application form," The Guardian quoted a student, as saying. "I had my bank statements all translated into English, but two words were not translated and they forced me to spend another 60 pounds to re-translate the whole document," another student added. When asked about the crisis, Dominic Scott, chief executive of the UKCISA, said: "Getting a student visa seems to have been like a hurdles race in which many get unnecessarily tripped up along the way. If we don't make it work, tens of thousands of students will be looking at alternative and perhaps more welcoming destinations," he added.
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