With the introduction of in-country credibility interviews, many of our clients have reported 'teething problems' as the new system rolls out. The problems include:
- Students paying for same-day premium appointments, but then being told they need to be interviewed at a later date, thus causing delays to visa processing times;
- Students being sent for interviews at interview locations which do not exist;
- Students being asked to attend interviews at locations which are many hours' travel from their institution or home address, thus making it very expensive;
- Interview request letters being received after the interview date.
While we hope that these problems will decrease as time goes on, it is important that students are warned of potential problems in advance. Institutions which have account managers should also raise these problems with them. We are also liaising with our contacts at UKVI and will provide further updates.
We recently ran a series of HTS seminars, and attendees raised the following issues in relation to credibility interviews:
- How to address the subjective nature of credibility refusals;
- What factors should be considered before assigning a new CAS to a student who has previously been refused on credibility grounds;
- Whether a refusal should be challenged;
- Steps that need to be taken to safeguard HTS status;
- What information should be provided to students in advance of the interview;
- How to make sure that the institution does not end up 'coaching' students.
Additionally, sponsors need to make sure that they have adequate procedures in place to deal with credibility interviews. Sponsors also need to review each case individually and assess how it may affect their HTS statistics. They must then identify any issues and take action where necessary.