Further improvements to visa process for Chinese migrants
The government is continuing to roll out improvements to the visa process for Chinese migrants and business visitors applying for a visa in China, and has recently announced the introduction of two further improvements to the service.
The first is an extension to the mobile biometric service which allows customers to give their fingerprints and details to visa staff who will visit their office, to avoid the migrant or visitor having to attend a visa application centre. This facility will be rolled out at all 12 regions served by visa application centres in China.
Further improvements include the roll-out of 24-hour visa processing for most visitor and work visa categories. The 24-hour super-priority visa service will be available to customers in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou for a fee of £600. Where the 24-hour service is unavailable, customers have the option of using the three to five-day priority visa service.
Universities forced to improve admissions procedures
UK universities are set to come under increasing pressure to outsource the compliance elements of enrolling foreign students when changes to the Immigration Rules come into effect in November 2014. The Home Office has announced that it will reduce the percentage of student visa refusals which can lead to the removal of universities' Highly Trusted Sponsor status. At present, universities risk losing this status – and with it their ability to enrol foreign students – if 20% or more of its foreign student applicants subsequently have their visas refused. This will be reduced to 10% in November, giving universities only a few months to put in place improvements to their admissions procedures.
As most applicants apply to universities online and do not attend an interview, it is difficult to fathom how universities will be able to eliminate the risk of a student failing to make a successful visa application, unless they have staff located abroad to meet the prospective students and shepherd them through the visa process. Alternatively, this measure may well force universities to outsource the compliance and visa assistance for students to third-party providers in order to safeguard their Highly Trusted Sponsor status.
For further information on this topic please contact Ilda De Sousa at Kingsley Napley by telephone (+44 20 7814 1200), fax (+44 20 7490 2288) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org). The Kingsley Napley website can be accessed at www.kingsleynapley.co.uk.