John Vine, Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration published his report on 29th November 2012 on Tier 4 of the UK Border Agency’s (UKBA) Points Based System.
Tier 4 allows overseas students to come and study in the UK at institutions licensed by the UKBA. One of the conditions for the award of a Tier 4 licence is that educational establishments must report various incidents to the UKBA. For example:
- Overseas students who fail to enrol on to their course.
- Overseas students fail to attend lessons.
- Overseas students fail to sit examinations or submit coursework.
- Overseas students withdrawing from their studies.
Any of the above incidents, when reported, gives the UKBA the power to cancel visas and to remove the migrants from the UK.
The Chief Inspector found that the UKBA had allowed a backlog of 153,000 reports made by educational establishments to build up. This indicates that whilst genuine educational establishments have kept up with their side of the deal, investing a lot of time and money navigating the labyrinthine system of rules to ensure that only genuine overseas students are allowed to stay and study in the UK, the UKBA have failed to keep up with their side of the deal.
It is not surprising then to hear regular reports of UKBA losing track of migrants e.g. the UKBA losing track of 150,000 illegal immigrants and the UKBA’s director of international operations and visas attending in person stating “I welcome this opportunity to say to the whole committee in person how much I regret and apologise for the fact that I did mislead you on two occasions last year, specifically in relation to the number of databases that were and were not checked. I had no intention of misleading you but clearly it is not a satisfactory position."
Shadow Immigration Minister Chris Bryant commented “The report reveals the scandalous situation where legitimate students are being turned away from attending our universities, while students reported to UKBA by our institutions for potentially going missing are not being followed up”.