Following a pilot scheme last year, the Home Office intends to interview a large number of Tier 4 applicants before making decisions on their entry clearance applications. The list of countries in which the Home Office is interviewing students is increasing and in May 2013 the following countries have been / will be added:
- China, Pakistan, Philippines and Thailand (7 May 2013)
- Nigeria (9 May 2013)
- Russian Federation (10 May 2013)
- Ghana (28 May 2013)
- Ethiopia and Uganda (31 May 2013)
The intention is to interview Tier 4 applicants from most countries by the end of 2013.
The Home Office has confirmed that if a student is interviewed, they will be asked a number of questions about their immigration and education history, study and post-study plans, and financial circumstances. We understand that the credibility interviews will be primarily conducted using video-conferencing and will be undertaken at the Visa Application Centre.
Students should be forewarned that they may be requested to attend an interview and advised of the types of areas on which they might be questioned.
For details on the Home Office’s published internal guidance on interviews and genuineness, please click here.
The Home Office has so far indicated that refusals based on credibility interviews up until the end of July 2013 will not count against a sponsor's HTS record, but no decision has yet been made beyond then. The summer months are peak recruitment periods for the majority of the Tier 4 sector. Therefore sponsors should ensure that their systems to monitor visa refusal remain robust so that when refusals become part of the HTS refusal criteria they are not caught out.