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Language schools have become illegal visa factories

Category: News

Date: 28.06.2006
Printable version

Language schools are being used as a front to issue student visas and people are staying in the UK illegally as a result.


Immigrants with no intention of studying pay in the region of £350 - a small price to stay in Britain with false papers - to middlemen using language schools as a base.


The BBC Ten O'Clock News has filmed colleges selling false papers to students who make it clear they simply wish to extend their stay in the UK.


The Home Office says that 83 colleges on the register were inspected recently. They thought more than half should be struck off.


A number of Russian newspapers in the UK advertise visa assistance. In tonight's Ten O Clock News, a student is filmed talking to a man called Valery who says he will sell her the enrolment papers even though she makes it clear she has no intention of studying.


Valery takes her to a college in Aldgate, London that is registered with the Department of Education and Skills. The Home Office will only give a visa if the student is studying at a registered school.


She again makes it clear she does not want to study. Twenty minutes later he has drawn up papers which say she has studied at the college.


Valery tells her: "Here, have a look. You began your eight week course on April the 24th and you finished it on the 16th of June which was last Friday."


With staff from the college present Valery makes up a good attendance record which is also important for Home Office approval.


He adds: "You attended 36 of the 40 classes, so 90% of classes. The school stamp and everything is all as it should be."


Then a payment of £350 is made. The college said that the Director of Studies who had signed the papers was not available.


Another man connected to a different college offers to arrange a visa without attending school for £300. For many this is proving the best way of getting into Britain and then disappearing.


A man featured in the report came here on a student visa. He extended it twice without attending any classes. He's now working in the building trade.


He says: "When my visa expired, I found out from some friends of mine that you could get it extended. So I paid £600 for a one-year college course."


On London's Oxford Streets many language schools handing out leaflets operate legitimately but a key industry body, English UK, believes around 10% of even the accredited schools may be breaking the rules.


A school featured has said it will thoroughly investigate the allegations and discipline any person found to have contravened its rules.







Category: News

Date: 28.06.2006
Printable version


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