Monday, 13 November 2017

Student Loans Fraud Exposed by BBC Panorama

Greenwich School of Management in London - also known as GSM London has come under scrutiny amid reports from BBC panorama programme today, The BBC says whistle blowers tipped it off about a "dodgy freelance agent" and malpractices in recruiting students for its degree programme with Plymouth University .

BBC Panorama's investigation comes at a time of massive change in Higher education landscape in England, The Higher Education and Research Act, passed earlier this year, would create a powerful new regulator for higher education in England called the Office for Students. The government is also looking at whether new businesses could offer degrees from day one on a probationary basis, which could attract interest from companies operating elsewhere in the world.

About £400m-a-year is received by 112 private colleges through the student loan system. The government is keen to expand the sector as part of reforms designed to make degree and diploma courses more accessible to people who might otherwise find it difficult to enter higher education.

This year total student loan debt, from universities and private colleges, amounted to £100bn.

In todays BBC's  Panaorama programme Plymouth University and GSM London college have been heavily implicated in student loan fraud, both institutions have declined direct involvement in the matter. You can see more on this story on Panorama, Student Loan Scandal on BBC One at 7.30pm on Monday 13th November and afterwards on iPlayer.

Monday, 6 February 2017

UK student Visa and Immigration updates in relation to EU & non EU International Students in UK - 2017

The Home Office released a statement of changes to the immigration rules on the 3 November 2016. The main changes affecting students will affect applications made on or after the 24 November 2016

Today, we will reflect on Trends and Observations for year 2017 – below we will try to outline UK student Visa and Immigration updates in relation to EU & non EU International Students in UK

Last Month, UKCISA voiced on International Student matters in relation to UK Immigration policy at Home Affairs committee's Immigration Inquiry

Below is a submission made by UKCISA to Home Office Committee’s Immigration Inquiry? - We shall outline few major observations from the submission

“Impact of current (Immigration) policy”
  • The cumulative effect, however, of government rhetoric, policies to create a ‘hostile environment’, hugely complex and restrictive rules and a disproportionately harsh inspection and compliance regime - even for globally recognised and respected universities – together with the abolition of Post-Study Work - has been, for the majority of institutions, a significant downturn in international student numbers.
  • Of particular concern have been the so-called ‘credibility interviews’ which undermine the objectivity and transparency of the decision making process and which have led some institutions – fearing the revocation of their licence if the visa refusal limit is breached – to restrict or end entirely making offers to any students in particular countries (such as Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nigeria) – details available.
  • Numbers going to private colleges have been decimated, those to publicly funded Further Education colleges reduced by over 50% and the latest Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) returns show that overall numbers coming to UK universities are no longer increasing and that first year arrivals are now on the decrease.
  • The HESA statistics also show that over the last 5 years the downturn and impact on certain local communities (which arguably might need investment and jobs most) has been particularly severe with non-EU student numbers decreasing in Bedfordshire by 66%, Teesside by 65%, Staffordshire 52%, Bradford 45%, Hull by 40%, Wolverhampton 37%.
  • Whilst ministers say that applications to Russell Group universities have been on the rise (which is true) this is not the case for the vast majority of institutions and many believe that a change in policy on non-EU/Tier 4 students is now essential.
     
  • This is now urgently required as a January 2017 report by the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) suggests that any further ‘crackdown’ by the Home Office – as suggested by the Secretary of State’s speech in October 2016 – could lead to additional lost income of £2bn per year.
  • The final concern is that many believe that without access to loans and being subject to higher fees the number of EU students coming to the UK may significantly decrease in the future.

Amid this,The home secretary, Amber Rudd, pledged a crackdown on international student numbers at the Conservative party conference in October,last year, to include tougher visa rules for “lower quality” universities and courses. But senior university sources are warning that the cutbacks could be far more severe than expected. They say they have seen Home Office plans that model slashing overseas student numbers, with one option to cut the current 300,000 to 170,000 a year.


Wednesday, 13 July 2016

More than 99,000 non-EU students visas curtailed by the Home Office in the past three years

More than 30,000 non-EU students a year have had their visas curtailed by the Home Office in the past three years, according to the figures obtained by BBC News show. Also it is revealed that 410 educational establishments had their licences to sponsor international students revoked in the same period.

The figures, released by the Home Office under Freedom of Information rules, show 99,635 students had their visas curtailed in the three years to the end of December 2015:
  • 33,210 in 2013
  • 34,210 in 2014
  • 32,215 in 2015
Of the educational establishments that lost their licences, there were
  • 199 in 2013
  • 129 in 2014
  • 72 in 2015
Some later had their licences reinstated - but, overall, the number of establishments holding them fell from 1,706 in 2013 to 1,405 by the end of last year.

According to official figures, 201,763 students applied for UK study visas last year.

These include:
  • 166,366 at universities
  • 15,982 in further education
  • 2,930 in English language schools
  • 13,675 in independent schools
According to an Office of National Statistics published in January, 192,000 international students arrived in the UK for long-term study in the year to June 2015 - down from a peak of 238,000 in 2010.

Summary of Recent Changes to UK Student Visa 2014, 2015, 2016 July onward
1. Summary of Recent Changes to UK Student Visa and News Watch end of 2015 to 2016,February

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Summary of Recent Changes to UK Student Visa and News Watch end of 2015 to 2016,February

Summary of Recent Changes to UK Student Visa and News watch on recent phenomenon in the UK Higher Education in respect to UK Visa matters for the prospect of International Students in UK


Towards the End of 2015 following following rules changed for international students specifically non EU students in UK - UK Student Visa- New Changes for International Students - 2015, November

The number of new entrants to Scottish Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) from India fell by 63% between 2010/11 and 2013/14. At present it is estimated only around 2500 Indian students are perusing higher education in Scotland.. 
The placid hope for re introduction of Post study work (PSW) visa came to an end with the UK governments announcement of not to reintroducing the PSW visa for international students

Last Month, January, 2016,  Data published by London & Partners, the city’s official promotion organisation revealed that China remains the leading source of London’s international student population, with 13,460 students from the country residing in the UK’s capital and also showed Indians student numbers are rapidly falling down in London due to recent changes to UK student visa regulations.

Last week, February 2016, A student visa scam involving at least half a million pounds has been unearthed in west London where an unscrupulous immigration consultant have made money from international students by promising them a Tier 2 visa work visa after completion of their studies.

The much controversial Institution, LSBF which is owned by Global University Systems lost its Tier 4 licence again curtailing hundreds of student visas, Some 350 international students have been told they must leave the UK by the end of next month (March, 2016) - Curtailment letters issued by the Home office stated that “It is not considered that the circumstances in your case are such that discretion should be exercised in your favour,” “The secretary of state has therefore decided to curtail your leave to enter or remain.” Continued with standard refusal statements According to the Institution/LSBF, most of the students were either in the final year of an undergraduate degree or on one-year master's programmes

Today, 11th February,2016, Times Higher Education(THE) reported on the forced departure from the UK of a US PhD graduate, The author, Martin McQuillan , pro vice-chancellor for research at Kingston University. argues that Non-EU students are now being sacrificed as political pawns in his article in THE.



Note / Public domain information: Paul is a US citizen who was awarded a PhD by the University of Birmingham. He was well known as a participant in Kingston University’s Shakespeare Seminar and was working on postdoctoral applications to the Wellcome and the Leverhulme trusts to continue his research at Kingston. This was until he was arrested at his home address in Stratford-upon-Avon and detained at Morton Hall Immigration Removal Centre in Lincolnshire for 10 days, before being released to leave the UK of his own volition.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

College fraud claim: Payments to a Cardiff campus and its students were suspended

A recruiter for West London Vocational Training College in Cardiff said they could cheat their way to receiving thousands of pounds, Recruiter, Kazi Shajahan offered to sell coursework needed for qualifications.

It prompted Education Minister Huw Lewis to suspend payments to West London Vocational Training College and to its Cardiff students.

The college, based on the city's Greyfriars Road, has nearly 100 IT and business students. Those on Higher National Diplomas (HNDs) can receive up to £17,000 a year in loans and grants, which will only be repaid when they earn more than £21,000 annually.

One of the journalists faked a GCSE certificate and applied for funding which was approved. Another potential student, who does not want to be identified, says Mr Shajahan offered him the chance to take part. "He was offering £10,000 student finance plus the grant," he claimed.

Also College principal Dr Manoj Kumar is revealed to have faked his Cambridge University PhD and teaching certificates

Courtesy: BBC Wales presenter Tim Rogers and the Week In Week Out team uncovered the allegations Week In Week Out is on BBC One Wales at 22:40 GMT on Tuesday, 1 December

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