Not so long ago, Labour Ministers were falling over themselves to tell us that they have closed nearly 150 “bogus” colleges. These colleges were found to be flouting immigration rules to the extreme in issuing paperwork to help people access visas for entry into Britain. The question Ministers have failed to answer so far is why they have only been condemned as “bogus” now. Isn’t that an admission of failure that the system of checking and issuing licences to the so called colleges has not worked in the first place?
I have written to Ministers on numerous occasions seeking answers about a system that seems unfair, immoral and unforgiving to many thousands of unsuspecting people who come here not to study but to work, often spending thousands of pounds to get here only to realise all too soon that things are far from the rosy picture presented to them by representatives of these colleges. Agents are employed by these “bogus” colleges in places to recruit “students” often charging them an initial fee and then equipping them with a letter from the college and bank statements at extra cost on top of the fees they are being asked to pay legitimately here in the UK.
Britain has issued over 80,000 visas to students mainly from the Asian sub-continent in the past couples of years. The vast majority of these “students” have been processed by third party, clearing companies who are drafted in help speed up the thousands of applications being received by the consular services. Unlike in the past where students have been interviewed by consular staff to ascertain the facts of their applications as well as their competencies in English, most are now simply issued with recommendations for a visa on the basis of them submitting proof of their ability to pay the fees and expenses and a letter from a UK college or university.