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Student visa: Indian students in UK in abject penury
The visa system is being abused by the consultancy firms who prepares student visa on fake papers and accounts. Thus many Indian students in UK live in abject penury and misery and land to approach both legal and illegal work for their survival.
THINGS ARE not so rosy as they may look like to those who eye student visa prospects in the United Kingdom these days because their counterparts, who fortunately or unfortunately ended up in some parts of the UK, either as genuine students or just paper-students are in abject penury and misery. This is what is being reported from many UK cities. These students neither have any scope for education nor left with the means to meet their bread by way of some menial jobs.

Reports that keep coming that many students find to their dismay, that their agents had fooled them by not paying their tuition fees that the former had paid in advance. Many colleges keep a list of fee defaulters and these students are asked to either pay the fee or be out of the class. As per student migration norms, it is stipulated that the students pay the full fee prior to joining their courses. However, there are some institutions that allow students in by accepting part of the fee or the first installment.

The fly by night visa processing agents in India collect the whole fee in advance and pay part of it to facilitate the candidate to join the course, but the remaining fee never comes to the college and the college in turn issues deadlines and ultimatums to students. Left with no other options, these students venture out and look for jobs legal or illegal. The story has it that there are brilliant student brains being drained out to the UK streets and they are ready to even beg for a day’s bread or for a few days survival.

All these sorry state of affairs notwithstanding, there are students queuing up at fly by night operators back in India. These operators are so clever that they would manage to traffic some of these students across the borders and make use of their photos and credentials in the following press advertisement to make extra mileage for their credibility.

But only when these students land in the UK, they realise that things are really eerie and they are left with no other option but to survive on their own abandoning their dreams in the wayside. This is the case of genuine students who pursue their visas with extreme interests. But there is another set of students, called paper students, whose ultimate aim is to take their physical body to the UK soil. They feel that they can make pound sterling in bales and bales by doing some work. They also realise their folly only when they land in there. The law of the land does not allow one to be so free in working and finding ways and means to lead a pound dominated life.

Their struggle for survival often leads them to crimes and assaults and when the issues goes to the police, there is revelation that the students in question do not have any papers and had been had been looking for illegal jobs or other survival tools.

Many such students are unable to return to India due to their being paperless, or they are not in a position to return as they all have great financial liabilities back home. They had to arrange for their visa processing. Being so hard put, many of them get engaged in some work like selling papers, hawking wares on the street, or eking out a life by some other way. In this process, there is no scope for education. This is really traumatic and eerie as these students are really sensible and brilliant. When they understand this, they broke like anything, many lose hope and do anything and everything for existence.

All the while their parents back home look forward to receive some foreign money. Many parents are under the impression that students can work and make hell of money and they can even support their parents back home all the while they do their studies abroad. These unfortunate parents are the ones who stand to lose. They have managed everything for their children hoping that things are going to change for good. But the agents who manage to send these children to the UK wash off their hands and they stay busy casting nets again.

In this context, it is worth recalling that a leading newspaper reported a case in which a consultancy firm in the Southern part of India was raided by the CBI and recovered clinching documents and evidences that prove the fact that there is a huge trafficking racket working in the country and it is exporting humans to the UK in the behest of student visa. This agency is found to have clandestine dealings with some bank officers who managed to get them fake account statements showing enough funds to those paper-qualified students. This had been going on for quiet some time and the CBI said that this agency had sent more than 100 students to Australia, New Zealand and Ireland using fake documents.

The CBI suspects that what they have been able to bring to light through this single raid at the consultancy firm is only the tip of an iceberg and many are expected to be netted in the coming days.

As a pre-emptive measure, the UK mission office in Delhi unilaterally suspended all visa operations from North India. Though the decision is expected to be reconsidered at the end of February, there is a panic that it is going to stay for long. Genuine students are really worried.
It is these fake operators who leave genuine student in the lurch. Student visa has now become a passport to penury and parents are urged to double check the agency and their credential before they submit their papers.

However, it is worth mentioning here that the border agency’s norm that a student with certain amount of money as course fee and some additional amount to meet their expenses up to one year is enough to make one eligible to get a visa is the provision being exploited by fake operators. Prior to introducing point based Tier 4 visa rules, Mission officers in the country had the discretionary power to accept or reject a student visa by looking at two things: one is the real intention of the student whether he is serious about his or her studentship.
Second thing is whether the candidate has the finance to support their studies. This is ensured by document stating the source of money they generate. But now the new system has scrapped the power of the officers and instead wants them to ensure that the candidate has enough points and funds, for studies and for a year’s survival, in their account. It is this provision that is being exploited. Money lenders are here to deposit any amount in anyone’s account for a fee.

Apart from these loopholes, the NHS’s decision not to issue any work permits to non European applicants, especially medical professionals and the revised pre requisite the all work permit seekers need to have seven band for all four module of IELTS are the other reasons cited to have made this student visa a blessing in disguise.

So, there is a far cry that the border agency does something to eliminate this trafficking menace so that the UK streets would breathe easy by not witnessing the miseries of students.

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