Home Affairs Committee welcomes NAO interest in student immigration system

14 May 2012

NAO report: The Immigration Points Based System – Tier 4

The Home Affairs Select Committee has spent several years highlighting problems within Tier 4 of the points-based system. The report on Bogus Colleges in the session 2009-10 and the more recent report on Student Visas examined several of the problems raised by institutions and students.

The international education market is important for the UK—International students are reported to contribute up to £12.5 billion annually to the UK economy, and the Education and Training export industry is estimated by the sector to be worth up to £40 billion to the UK economy.

The Committee concluded that the reintroduction of exit checks were necessary, a recommendation supported by the NAO report. In its most recent report on the Work of the UK Border Agency, the Committee recommended that all inspections of sponsoring institutions were unannounced in order to strengthen the regulation of sponsors. The Committee have also long argued that stronger action on non-compliance and overstaying is required which is why it welcomes the creation of the new enforcement and criminality directorate. The Committee supports the NAO recommendations in this area.

The Committee also recommended that Entry Clearance Managers be given more discretion and so welcome the recent news of pilot studies where students are being interviewed by consular officials.


Chairman of the Committee, Rt Hon Keith Vaz MP said

The NAO report shows that the Committee have been fully justified in pursuing this issue for so many years.


Students are the largest group of migrants and are vital to the UK economy. However, we must be vigilant in ensuring that ‘bogus’ colleges and ‘bogus’ students are found and dealt with.


We must have a fair immigration system where those who arrive in the UK under false pretences are deported swiftly and those who contribute are welcomed.


We shall be questioning the Immigration Minister and the Chief Executive of the UKBA on these issues on Tuesday 15th May.


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