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Entry Clearances: Students

Volume 497: debated on Wednesday 14 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate he has made of the number of people who entered the UK on a student visa and remained in the UK after the expiration of the visa in the last 10 years. (291928)

Since the phasing out of embarkation controls in 1994 no Government has ever been able to produce an accurate figure for the number of people who have overstayed their visas, including those who entered on a student visa.

However, as part of the Government's 10-point plan for delivery, by 2010 over 95 per cent. of non-EEA foreign nationals will be counted in and out of the country, rising to 100 per cent. by 2014. This is part of a sweeping programme of border protection which also includes the global roll-out of fingerprint visas, watch-list checks for all travellers before they arrive or depart from the UK and ID cards for foreign nationals.

Further to this, Local Immigration Teams (LITs) are being established to serve every community in the UK. Each local team will enforce immigration laws working shoulder-to-shoulder with police, Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, local authorities and other local partners to target immigration crime (including seeking to detect and remove those overstaying on their visa) and address local community concerns on migration. By December 2011 there will be a team serving every community in the country.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he plans to take to ensure the effectiveness of the system for granting visas to overseas students wishing to study in the UK; and if he will make a statement. (291978)

At the end of March this year we implemented Tier 4 of the Points Based System for international students.

We have monitored carefully the implementation of the new system, making various small changes to it in the light of experience. We have now received and processed more student applications than at the equivalent time last year, predominantly within customer service standards. Further IT changes will be introduced between now and February 2010 to further improve processing. We have kept in close touch with stakeholders to understand their needs.

Information on end to end processing times at each overseas post can be found at: