The basics
THE UK: Latest News

UK Border Agency abolished: How will students be affected, and what can they do?

Houses of Parliament

Home secretary Theresa May has announced that the UK Border Agency is to be abolished in the UK. Going forward, the work previously performed by the UKBA will be delegated back to the Home Office; this work will be split into visa applications and immigration law enforcement.

 

What does this mean?

This is big news for international students who depend on their visa applications to be processed in an efficient manner, in time for the beginning of their course. Described as having a ‘closed, secretive and defensive culture’, the agency was further criticised for its slow performance; leading to a backlog of applications for visas. The results of this change may well influence how other countries treat visa applications for students in the future.

While May said the system was competitive with other countries, she stated that there was room for improvement. A huge shake-up like this comes at a testing time; this month, the Home Office are beginning the process of interviewing over 100, 000 Tier 4 applicants, wishing to study in the UK. Preliminary interviews as part of the pilot scheme have been reported to take nearly an hour each.

Like any process which goes through reorganisation, expect some things to take slightly longer than usual. Employees at the Home Office may take some time to get used to the new system (as well as going through the interview process mentioned above). Though it’s easy to say to applicants, that they should remain calm throughout, it can create a lot of stress; especially while organising plans from another country.

What can students who are planning to study abroad, in the UK or elsewhere, learn from this? Below are a few tips that we recommend:

 

Tips for students applying:

Organise your documents

Keep all documentation you receive well organised, in chronological order which you receive it. Split documents into relevant areas e.g. course, accommodation etc. Print out everything some you have a hard copy; or, if you want to save on paper, bookmark web pages and create special folders. Also, back up these files in case you aren’t near your computer or device; send them to another email address you have too.

 

Dates for your calendar

Ask for dates for when you should hear back for something. It's easy to just wait for something to happen on its own. Sometimes you need to make things happen! Create a calendar for yourself to mark important dates or deadlines, so you can see if you have yet to hear back from someone. Then you can follow up with them appropriately.

 

Know who you spoke to

When you speak on the phone to someone, ask for their name (preferably first and last name), and their position. If you call again and speak to someone different, you can prove you did in fact speak to their colleague previously (they may even put you through to them). If you’re worried about being rude, thank them for their help when they give you their name; if you say their name when you thank them, it will seem more personal and they may even remember you. Also, write down their name, and the date you spoke to them.

 

Interviews

If you do have an interview scheduled, you may have to wait a bit longer, as we mentioned above. Sometimes there are delays with so many students to interview. Make sure you take something to keep you busy or entertained. Charge up your phone or iPad, or take a book (something relevant to your course would appear favourable to your interviewer, and give you something to talk about). However, this is not an excuse to arrive late.

 

Speak up

If you are concerned that something is taking longer than it should, speak up or make an enquiry! It rarely happens, but if something has gone awry, you need to notify someone immediately. Keep your parents informed, or speak to your friends about their applications (though theirs may differ slightly depending on where they are studying). It will save you a lot of hassle later on to deal with an issue now. It may even be worthwhile to set a Google Alert for terms such  as 'students application' or 'international students'; check these once a week, to remind you of things you need to do.

 

 

Find a course in the UK

 

 

Study in the UK

Free

'Study in the UK' eBook

Enjoy what you’ve read? We’ve condensed the above popular topics about studying in the UK into one handy digital book.

Get your eBook

Must read

New post-study work visa for international students

One of the key factors for international students evaluating possible academic destinations is the potential for post-study opportunities, including employment. Gearing up to study abroad comes with a significant amount of planning, deliberation and the associated anxiety of starting a new chapter in an unfamiliar environment.  Being able to have a clearer vision of what may lie ahead does much to allay any fear or trepidation.  Students who have been

4.3K

Brexit impact for EU students in the UK

It’s not an exaggeration to say that more words have been written and spoken about Brexit than most other topics in recent times. Endless newspaper columns, websites and talk shops have attempted to wrestle with the possible implications of the UK leaving the EU. There is confusion and consternation, from which the Higher Education sector, universities and students have not been exempt. Policy certainty and the associated planning is a priority, and this is

223

UK confirms commitment to international students

From world renowned institutions and one of the top-rated higher education systems globally, to a dynamic student lifestyle and post-study work options, the UK remains very high on the list of desirable destinations for international students. With the advent of the coronavirus and the significant changes this has brought many international students have faced challenges in pursuing their study abroad ambitions. From uncertainty around travel restrictions and visa

222