- A provision for an Entry Clearance Officer to be satisfied that an applicant is a genuine student before granting entry clearance under Tier 4 of the Points Based System;
- A provision for an Entry Clearance Officer to refuse to issue entry clearance where the applicant fails to attend an interview without providing a reasonable explanation.
This was followed by the UKBA releasing their ‘Tier 4 Student Credibility pilot’ report which sets out the figures relating to the interviews conducted in British Embassies from December 2011 to February 2012. This report is the UKBA’s justification for introducing the subjective test of being ‘a genuine student’ to a route which is meant to be points based!
So if you are going to be submitting a Tier 4 visa application to a British Embassy, be ready for the possibility to be interviewed and you will need to make sure that you turn up or run the risk of a refusal….
If you are called for interview, the ECO will want to see that you have a genuine intention to study in the UK and will likely ask you about your chosen course in the UK and where you intend to live. Also the ECO will use the interview as a way to test your English Language ability and your application will be refused if you cannot hold a basic conversation without an interpreter. This is because all students coming to the UK have to demonstrate a minimum English Language level of B1.
Interviews are not a new thing for ECO’s to do; when I first started as an ECO in 2007 we used to conduct interviews. The UKBA then decided that they were too expensive and time consuming to conduct and from that point on all decisions were made on the basis of the documentation provided by the applicant. So…. how long will the decision to interview applicants last before the Government starts to feel the pinch on its purse strings?!
If you are about to make a Tier 4 application, make sure you put a telephone number on your application form that you can be reached at as well as regularly checking your emails throughout the British Embassy processing your application as you don’t want to miss an interview date!