British High Commission suspends visa application from parts of northern India

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New Delhi, Jan 31 (ANI): The British High Commission announced a temporary suspension in accepting visa applications from parts of north India due to an unprecedented spurt in student-visa seekers from the region.

The decision to freeze the issue of fresh visas was taken after a dramatic rise in the number of applications between October and December last year.

The UK Border Agency, which enforces Britain's immigration and customs regulations, has instructed its visa-application centres in New Delhi, Chandigarh and Jalandhar to stop accepting applications for student visas from Monday (February 1).

"From Monday, we will temporarily stop accepting student's visa application under Tier 4 of the points based system at visa application centres in New Delhi, Chandigarh and Jalandhar," said Chris Dix, Regional Director, UK Border Agency

The three centres had received about 1,000 student-visa applications from October to December 2007. But the number increased to 1,800 within the same period in 2008 and climbed to 13,500 last year.

"This is a response to an unprecedented rise in the number of applications we received under this part of points based system. And it's taken in conjunction with concerns that we have about the quality of some of those application," added Chris Dix.

Visa application centres in western and southern India will, however, continue their operations as usual.

Genuine students apply for the visas around June and July for the academic year that begins in September. But the increase in application is for the period between October and December, where some educational institutions take in students.

It has been found that many of these institutions are not genuine and work the system with the promise of permanent residency in the UK. Last week alone, licenses of 60 institutions were cancelled. So far, 90 institutes got suspension orders. (ANI)

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