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[Study abroad] New restrictions on British visas
Latest Updated by 2006-04-07 10:57:32

Chinese students are now required to provide a Certificate of Sponsorship from a specific school to obtain a British visa, according to Britain's new points-based immigration system .

The move is an attempt to curb abuse of Britain's immigration system and requires all non-European Union citizens, except for those highly skilled, to provide a sponsorship certificate to apply for a British visa.

For Chinese students, who usually receive several offers from British universities, this means they must decide on their school before they apply for a visa. Under the current system, they can apply before they make this decision.

Moreover, bonds will be requested in categories where there has been evidence of abuse.

"But there is no specific timetable for the introduction of new policies, nor has the exact amount of bonds been decided," Lindy Beach, a visa officer with the British Embassy in Beijing, said yesterday.

Beach said she is confident that the policy change would not affect genuine students. "Experience shows that more than 90 per cent of Chinese student applicants have had clear school intentions before they apply."

Employers or educational institutions that issue sponsorship certificates will also shoulder the responsibility of giving feedback to the British Government about whether the person is a genuine worker or a student.

Beach said the new system would be easier and simpler for people who have a legitimate wish to enter, work, or study in Britain, because it is more transparent.

The response to the change from Chinese students was mixed. Many believe the procedure is now more complicated.

But Li Ding, a consultant with the New Oriental School, China's biggest private institute that provides language training to students going abroad, said the new system makes the application process easier for genuine students.

Editor: Wing

By: Source:China Daily Website
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