Monthly Archives: June 2013

An Investigation into Student Visitors – Visa Nationals: Unsuccessful Applicants

Research Report into UK Student Visitors (Migration and Border Analysis, Home Office Science)

Student visitors requiring a visa: Unsuccessful applicants

About unsuccessful applicants

The population of unsuccessful applicants is dominated by applicants from Turkey (18%). Almost one-half of unsuccessful applicants (44%) are from the top five nationalities (Chinese, Indian, Nigerian, Russia and Turkish).

Table 7: Nationalities of unsuccessful visa applicants in sample and population compared

Nationality Number in sample % in sample Number in population % in population
Chinese 30 9.9 608 8.1
Indian 30 9.9 390 5.2
Nigerian 30 9.9 593 7.9
Russian 30 9.9 360 4.8
Turkish 46 15.1 1,371 18.3
Rest 138 45.4 4,184 55.8
Totals 304 100 7,506 100

The sample was designed to be representative of the population. Weighting was used to adjust for oversampling of some nationalities (Chinese, Indians, Nigerians and Russians).

Analysis of refused applicants by nationality was only possible for Turkish applicants. The majority of Chinese, Nigerian and Indian refused applicants did not have an on-line application form and only limited information was available on the Central Reference System (CRS) for Russian applicants.

Unsuccessful applicants (13%) were less likely than successful applicants (19%) to have dependent children and more than twice as likely to be unemployed as successful visa applicants (17% compared with 7%). Unsuccessful Turkish applicants were less likely to have dependent children (2%) than unsuccessful applicants overall.

Unsuccessful applicants employed in their country of nationality had a lower median net monthly income than successful applicants (median £610 compared with £1,000).

More unsuccessful applicants (16%) had family and friends in the UK than successful applicants (9%).

Unsuccessful applicants were more likely to be male (67%) than successful applicants for which the gender split was roughly equal (48% male).

Courses proposed

In total, 79 per cent of unsuccessful applicants proposed to attend institutions on the Tier 4 Register, a lower proportion than successful applicants (90%).

Unsuccessful applicants were more likely to propose studying English language (73%) than successful applicants (64%, Table C8). Turkish unsuccessful applicants were less likely to be proposing to study English language (93%) than unsuccessful applicants overall.

The proposed length of course and intended length of stay in the UK were considerably longer for unsuccessful applicants than successful applicants (median course length 58 days and median trip length 77 days, compared with a median course length of 27 days and trip length of 29 days for successful applicants).

A slightly smaller proportion of unsuccessful applicants (91%) than successful applicants (96%) had enrolled or been accepted on a course in the UK when they applied for a visa.

Costs related to study in the UK

The data suggest that unsuccessful applicants proposed to attend cheaper courses than successful applicants. The median course fee for unsuccessful applicants (£1,432) was similar to successful applicants (£1,457) but it was more likely to include accommodation and/or living costs.

A similar proportion of unsuccessful applicants (76%) to successful applicants (72%) had paid some costs towards their course before submitting their visa application.

However, costs to the applicant personally were higher for unsuccessful applicants (median £1,985) compared with successful applicants (median £1,400, Table C19). The costs of studying in the UK for Turkish applicants personally (median £2,873) was higher than for unsuccessful applicants overall.

However, Turkish unsuccessful applicants had paid considerably less before submitting their application (median £265) than unsuccessful applicants overall (median £845).

Previous trips to the UK and immigration history

Unsuccessful applicants were less likely than successful applicants to have travelled to the UK or to other countries before and were more likely than successful applicants to have been refused a visa or refused entry at the border.

Unsuccessful applicants were less likely than successful applicants to have:

  • studied in the UK before (11% compared with 19%);
  • travelled to the UK in the last 10 years (17% compared with 31%);
  • travelled elsewhere in the last 10 years (58% compared with 72%); or
  • been granted a visa to the UK in the last 10 years (15% compared with 25%).

They were more likely than successful applicants to have been:

  • refused entry to the UK in the last 10 years (3% compared with 1%); or
  • refused a visa for any country (25% compared with 7%).

Reasons for refusal

The reasons for refusal outlined in the applicants’ refusal letter were coded (Table 8 below). Each refused case may have been given more than one reason for refusal. Each of the following reasons were given in around one-half of all cases:

  • insufficient documents/information submitted;
  • no intention to leave UK after studies;
  • no intention to study/seeking employment; and
  • funds not genuinely available.

Table 8: Reasons for refusal

Applicants % of all reasons given % of cases with this reason
Insufficient documents/information submitted 151 19.0 50.4
No intention to leave UK after studies 138 17.4 46.2
No intention to study/seeking employment 136 17.2 45.8
Funds not genuinely available 125 15.9 42.2
Studies are inconsistent with student/employment history 79 10.1 26.8
Inconsistencies in the evidence/information provided 46 5.8 15.2
Photocopied/unofficial documents not accepted 28 3.2 8.5
Deception – false representations/documents 24 3.0 8.1
Sponsor not licensed/accredited 17 1.9 5.1
Adverse immigration history 13 1.5 4.1
Studies fall under Tier 4 not Student Visitor 11 1.1 2.9
Not enrolled on a course of study 9 0.9 2.5
Other reasons for refusal 22 2.8 7.2
Totals 799 100.0

Part 5 of 5

Part 1 – Summary
Part 2 – Introduction
Part 3 – Non-visa nationals
Part 4 – Visa nationals: successful applicants
Part 5 – Visa nationals: unsuccessful applicants

An Investigation into Student Visitors – Visa Nationals: Successful Applicants

Research Report into UK Student Visitors (Migration and Border Analysis, Home Office Science)

Student visitors requiring a visa: Successful applicants

About successful applicants

The top five nationalities in the study period were Russian, Chinese, Turkish, Saudi Arabian, and Indian, making up around two-thirds of successful applicants.

Analysis of visa nationals is based on visa application data rather than arrivals data, therefore a minority of successful applicants may have been granted a visa but have not then used it to enter the UK.

Table 5: Nationalities of successful applicants for a student visit visa, 1 June 2011–31 May 2012

Nationality Number in sample % in sample Number in population % in population
Russian 143 19.1 11,395 18.8
Chinese 117 15.6 9,353 15.5
Turkish 96 12.8 7,687 12.7
Saudi Arabian 71 9.5 5,665 9.4
Indian 49 6.6 3,864 6.4
Rest 272 36.4 22,528 37.2
Totals 748 100 60,492 100

The sample was designed so the nationalities of applicants in the sample were representative of the population as a whole.

One-quarter of successful applicants were married or in a civil partnership, almost one in five (19%) had dependent children and almost one-half (44%) were employed in their country of nationality. Around one-half (49%) of successful applicants in the study period were students in their country of nationality. Just seven per cent were not working or unemployed in their country of nationality.

Turkish successful applicants were more likely to be single (87%) and to be unemployed (16%), and less likely to have dependent children (8%) than successful applicants of other nationalities.

Saudi Arabian successful applicants were also more likely to be unemployed (18%) than successful applicants overall. Chinese applicants were more likely to be students in their country of nationality (70%) than successful applicants overall (49%) and were more likely to be single (87%).

The majority (91%) did not have family or friends in the UK and hardly any had a UK National Insurance number (<1%). Saudi Arabian applicants (12%) were slightly more likely than successful applicants overall to have family or friends in the UK.

The employed applicants reported a wide range of occupations but almost one-quarter (23%) were teachers. Net monthly income for employed applicants ranged from £27 to £14,982 a month. The median income was £1,000 a month, but 17 per cent of applicants earned more than £3,000 a month.

Most Chinese (71%) and Russian (68%) successful applicants were women and most Saudi Arabian (80%) and Indian (74%) applicants were men.

Proposed visit to the UK

Successful applicants reported their intended travel dates to and from the UK on their application forms. The median length was 29 days. Around 11 per cent of applicants proposed to stay between five and six months.

Courses studied

Length of courses

The median course length was 27 days, consistent with the reported median intended length of stay in the UK of 29 days.

Saudi Arabian and Turkish applicants were proposing to take longer courses than other successful applicants (median 57 days and 53 days respectively, compared with 27 days for applicants overall). Their proposed length of stay in the UK was also longer (68 and 55 days respectively, compared with 29 days for applicants overall). Russian applicants’ median trip length was shorter than successful applicants overall (20 days compared with 29 days).

A few applicants (11 cases) reported course lengths of more than six months. Some of these applicants were undertaking longer courses for which only part of their studies were in the UK.

Types of courses

Almost two-thirds of successful applicants proposed to study English language (64%), a similar proportion as the non-visa sample (62%). Around seven per cent were coming for summer school or exchange programmes, with seven per cent studying degree programmes. Around six per cent were studying business courses and nine per cent were studying other skilled courses or maritime training. A further four per cent were studying recreational courses, e.g French pastry making.

Whilst the majority of Saudi Arabian, Chinese and Russian applicants were coming to study English language (93%, 87% and 86% respectively), less than one-half of Chinese applicants (49%) and hardly any Indians (2%) were coming for this reason. Chinese applicants were the most likely to be attending summer school or exchange programmes (23%), whilst Indians were the most likely to be studying degrees (23%) or maritime courses (21%).

Over two-thirds (69%) were attending courses where accommodation was provided.

Table 6: Courses studied by visa nationals

Course type Total
English – general 44.9
English – intensive 11.4
Degree 6.7
Other skilled 6.5
Business course 5.6
Summer school 4.8
Recreational 4.4
English – specialist 3.2
Teacher training 3
English – IELTS 2.8
Exchange 2.8
Maritime 2.2
Teaching English as a foreign language 1
Seminar 0.4
Total 682

Qualifications

In a similar fashion to non-visa nationals, only limited information was available on the qualifications the courses would lead to. Most successful applicants stated on their visa application form they would get a certificate or would improve their English rather than the qualification or level of course they were proposing to study. In addition, it was not always clear whether the certificate was for attending the course or for meeting a required level at the end of the course. From the limited information available it was found that 10 per cent were proposing to come to the UK for a degree level course (NQF levels 6 to 8). This included three per cent studying at postgraduate level (NQF level 7).

Figure 4: Level of course (according to the National Qualifications Framework) recorded by successful visa applicants.

fig4_course-level_sucapp

Institutions, sponsorship and accreditation

The majority of successful applicants (90%) proposed to study at an institution on the Tier 4 Register. This included two per cent proposing to study at legacy institutions and eight per cent at A-Rated institutions.

Figure 5: Tier 4 Register status of institutions attended by successful visa national student visitors

fig5_register-status_sucapps

A further nine per cent proposed to study at institutions that were not on the Tier 4 Register but were accredited by Home Office approved organisations. Less than one per cent were attending institutions that had a status which could not be not determined.

The median course length and trip length was longer for successful applicants who proposed to study at institutions with HTS status than for applicants who proposed to study at institutions without HTS status (trip length of 29.5 days compared with 20 days, course length 28 days compared with 20 days).

There were no differences between successful applicants proposing to study at institutions with HTS status and those proposing to study at institutions without HTS status when looking at type of course (English language course compared with other type of course), course fees, or having been refused a visa before.

Additionally, one per cent of student visitors were attending institutions that had their Tier 4 status revoked prior to the time of application. A further five per cent were attending institutions that have since had their Tier 4 status revoked. However, in none of these instances was the sponsor licence revoked for a breach of sponsorship obligations.

Costs related to study in the UK

The median course fee for successful applicants was £1,457 (range £0 to £57,378). Almost 14 per cent of applicants were paying over £4,000 in fees.

The median course fees reported by Russian (£1,120) and Chinese (£1,002) successful applicants were lower than for successful applicants overall (£1,457). The fees reported by Saudi Arabians (£2,465) were higher, but this is likely to reflect the longer length of their proposed courses.

Over one-half (57%) of applicants stated that their course fees included accommodation. Russian (74%) and Chinese (68%) applicants were more likely to be on courses where accommodation was included in the fees, but this was less likely to be the case for Indians (23%). Almost one-half of courses being studied included some or all living expenses (such as meals). Russian applicants (55%) were slightly more likely than all successful applicants (45%) to have living expenses included in the fees.

Most (72%) of the successful applicants had paid some costs towards their course before submitting their visa application (median £553). Chinese (65%), Turkish (55%) and Saudi Arabian (55%) applicants were less likely than other applicants (72%) to have paid some costs already at the visa application stage, and Russians (87%) more likely to have done so.

Applicants were also asked what the cost of coming to the UK was to them personally. The median cost was £1,400 (range £0 to £34,000). Over one-fifth (22%) stated it would not cost them anything, because someone else was paying the costs, e.g. a family member or employer.

Previous trips

Less than 1 in 5 (19%) successful applicants reported having studied in the UK before.

However, many applicants had visited the UK or other countries before. Almost one-third (31%) reported having travelled to the UK within the previous 10 years. Just under three-quarters of these trips (72%) were for study purposes.

Turkish (12%) and Chinese (5%) successful applicants were much less likely than successful applicants overall (19%) to have studied in the UK before. They were also less likely to have travelled to the UK in the past 10 years (Turkish 16% and Chinese 12%, compared with 31% of successful applicants overall).

One-quarter of successful applicants indicated they had been issued a visa to the UK in the past 10 years. Just over three-quarters of these visas (76%) were for study. Indian successful applicants were almost twice as likely to have been granted a visa to the UK in the past 10 years than successful applicants overall (47% compared with 25%).

Just under one-quarter (23%) of successful applicants had a previous successful visa application recorded on the Central Reference System (CRS). Of those who had a previous successful application recorded, most had just one application recorded (14%), but a small proportion had between 3 and 10 successful applications recorded (4%). Around 59 per cent of these linked applications were for study purposes.

Few successful applicants had adverse immigration histories:

  • less than one per cent reported having been refused entry to the UK in the past ten years;
  • seven per cent reported having been refused a visa (for travel to any country); and
  • less than one per cent reported having been deported from any country in the past ten years.

Applicants from three of the top five countries of nationality (Turkey 4%, China 3%, Saudi Arabia 3%) were less likely than successful applicants overall (7%) to have been refused a visa for travel to any country.

Part 4 of 5

Part 1 – Summary
Part 2 – Introduction
Part 3 – Non-visa nationals
Part 4 – Visa nationals: successful applicants
Part 5 – Visa nationals: unsuccessful applicants

An Investigation into Student Visitors – Non-visa nationals

Research Report into UK Student Visitors (Migration and Border Analysis, Home Office Science)

Student visitors not requiring a visa

About the sample

The top four nationalities in the non-visa sample were Brazilians, US nationals, Japanese and Koreans. All other nationalities each made up less than two per cent of the sample, and were therefore grouped. The category of ‘Other Americas’ consists of nationals from Canada, Mexico,
Guatemala, Chile, Argentina, Paraguay and Salvador. ‘Other Asia’ consists of nationals from Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Taiwan. The ‘All Others’ category consists of nationals from Israel, New Zealand and Australia.

Table 2: Nationalities of non-visa student visitors in the population and sample compared

Nationality Number in sample (2012) % in sample (2012) Number in non-visa population (2011) % in non-visa population (2011)
Brazilian 325 34.5 19,300 10.4
US 254 27.0 115,000 61.8
Japanese 164 17.4 15,800 8.5
Korean 68 7.2 5,510 3.0
Rest 131 13.9 30,540 16.4
Totals 942 100 186,150 100

The distribution of nationalities in the sample (2012) differs from the distribution of nationalities in the population (2011). It is possible that population characteristics have changed during this time, however, the sample may not be representative and so can only be taken to give an indication of the population.

The majority of sampled student visitors were aged between 18 and 25 (56%), with a further 26 per cent aged between 26 and 35. The median age was 23. At the other end of the scale, the proportion of sampled student visitors aged over 46 was five per cent.

The majority of those in the sample were female (61%).

Proposed visit to the UK

The median length of stay was seven weeks. Less than one-quarter of the sample (23%) were staying for more than 12 weeks, showing the majority of the sampled student visitors came for less than one-half of the time allowed. There were some differences by nationality: 57 per cent of Koreans were staying longer than 12 weeks. However, this applied to only 11 per cent of Brazilians.

Most student visitors sampled reported they intended to stay in the UK for a similar length of time as their course length. Only 10 per cent of the sample reported staying for at least two weeks longer than the duration of their course, with only one per cent (seven cases) staying eight weeks or longer than their course duration. US nationals were the least likely to stay longer, with four per cent staying at least two weeks longer than their course duration. Koreans were most likely to stay for at least two weeks longer than the length of their course.

Courses studied

Length of courses

Course length was distributed in a similar fashion to the length of stay but on average was longer. This reflects the fact that some students were re-entering the UK part way through a course, and so not staying for the full duration of the course. Additionally, a small minority of students were studying part-time courses of several years in length, and so not making visits for the entire duration of the
course.

The median value for the length of courses studied was eight weeks. The most common value was 4 weeks (19%) and another common value was 12 weeks (13%). These values are likely to reflect common English language course and university term lengths respectively.

Types of courses

Around two-thirds of student visitors in the sample came to study English language courses (62%). Aside from differences arising from comparison of English and non-English speaking countries, whilst between 85 per cent and 95 per cent of Japanese, Brazilian and Korean student visitors were studying English language, for nationals of countries in the ‘Other Asian’ category this was only 48 per cent. Instead these student visitors were more likely to report studying business-related or other skilled courses (14% for both).

Exchange courses (often in conjunction with a university in the student visitor’s country of nationality) were also popular (26%) particularly for US nationals, 85 per cent of whom were taking part in one. A small proportion of student visitors were studying courses classed as ‘other skilled’ and ‘recreational’ (3% for each). Examples of the former include military vehicle propulsion and parliamentary reporting, whereas examples of the latter include fashion design and French pastry making.

Table 3: Courses to be studied, by non-visa national sample

Course type All %
Standard English 44.9
Exchange Programme 26.2
Intensive English 11.1
Other skilled 3.4
Recreational 3.4
Postgraduate programme based in UK 2.9
Business English 2.2
Business-related 2.2
Vacation English 1.8
Teaching English as a foreign language 1.8
Total 942

Qualifications

Limited information was reported on the qualifications that the sampled student visitors would attain in many cases making it impossible to determine the corresponding National Qualifications Framework (NQF) level . Some respondents reported that their course led to a certificate, of which the level was unknown. Additionally, some respondents (those studying English language courses in particular) reported that they would receive a qualification, the level of which would depend on the level of fluency attained during the course and thus was unknown before the start.

Figure 2: Level of course studied (according to National Qualifications Framework) recorded by non-visa national student visitors in the sample.

fig2_course-level

Just under two- thirds (65%) reported that they would receive no qualification, or one without equivalence to the NQF. This was particularly prevalent among the sampled student visitors from countries in the ‘Other Americas’ group (93%), Brazilians (92%) and Japanese (88%).

Just under one-third (30%) of the sample were studying courses equivalent to degree level. This represents 23 per cent taking courses equivalent to undergraduate degree level (NQF level 6) and 7 per cent taking courses equivalent to postgraduate degree level (NQF levels 7 and 8).

Whilst 72 per cent of US nationals were taking level 6 qualifications, only 1 per cent of the Japanese nationals and none of the Brazilians in the sample were studying at this level. This can largely be attributed to the majority of US nationals visiting as part of an exchange programme, usually in partnership with a host university in the US.

Additionally, whilst 25 per cent of nationals of countries within the category of ‘All Others’ were studying qualifications at levels 7 or 8, only 2 per cent of Japanese and 4 per cent of Brazilians were studying for qualifications at these levels.

Institutions, sponsorship and accreditation

The majority of student visitors (87%), were coming to study at institutions on the Tier 4 Register (Figure 3). This included 82 per cent studying at institutions with highly trusted sponsor (HTS) status. This status is given by the Home Office to institutions with at least a 12 month proven track record of satisfactory compliance with immigration requirements. An additional 3 per cent were studying at A-Rated institutions, and 2 per cent were studying at ‘legacy’ institutions. Of those sampled, 27 per cent were attending universities.

Figure 3: Tier 4 Register status of institutions attended by non-visa national student visitors in the sample.

fig3_register-status

Of those institutions not listed on the Tier 4 Register, eight per cent of institutions were accredited by the British Accreditation Council or Accreditation UK. A small minority (5%) were attending institutions whose sponsorship or accreditation status could not be determined.

Additionally, five per cent of student visitors were attending institutions that had their Tier 4 sponsor licences revoked. However, none of these had their licences revoked for a breach of sponsorship duties.

Students attending institutions with HTS status were also attending longer courses – a median of ten weeks, in comparison with a median of four weeks for those attending institutions without HTS status.

Costs related to study in the UK

In many cases no information was provided for fees or an explanation was given that the student’s parents or government had paid. Additionally, many of the sampled student visitors from the US had already paid fees to the home institution in the US, which included the cost of exchange. Cases were excluded from the analysis where this was evident.

The median fee value in the sample was £2,308. Fees ranged in value from £0 to £94,000. Values above £30,000 were examined to see if they may be errors. However, all corresponded to long courses at NQF levels 7 or 8, (with the £94,000 representing a PhD in
education research) and so were deemed likely to be accurate and left in the analysis.

The US nationals in the sample had paid the highest fees by far, with a median of £9,000. However, this figure may in some cases still represent the amount paid annually to the host institution, rather than just the cost of exchange. The next highest median was for Koreans, who had paid £2,503. Brazilian and Japanese student visitors had paid the least (median £1,500 for both groups).

Fees varied by the institutions’ accreditation status. Those on the Tier 4 Register that had HTS status were the most expensive (median £2,500), while the least expensive (3% of cases) were those with ‘A-Rated’ status (median £580). Those that were not on the Tier 4 Register at all were much less expensive than those with HTS status, with a median of £1,862 (Table A12). Amongst all courses in the sample, postgraduate courses based in the UK (18 cases) were the most expensive with a median of £12,875. Exchange programmes were also expensive, with a median of £8,686. Recreational courses cost much less, with a median of £490. Among English language courses, all were less expensive than the median fee but intensive English courses cost the most (median £1,969). Business English courses (19 cases) were least expensive, with a median of £1,100.

Previous trips

A minority (7%) of the sampled student visitors reported having previously come to the UK as a student visitor. Table 4 shows the number of times sampled student visitors have visited previously. These repeat visits have been examined by the number of times visited and by whether the visits were prior to or during 2012.

Table 4: Previous visits made by sampled non-visa national student visitors

Description of previous visit Number
One previous visit before 2012 31
Multiple visits before 2012 10
One previous visit during 2012 6
Multiple visits, including during 2012 7
Total 54

Where multiple visits had been made, the number of visits ranged from 2 to 14 previous times, with the most common number of previous visits being 3. An additional eight cases could be identified where multiple visits had been made, but the student was studying a long part-time course and the visits appeared to be linked to this same course. This may have also been the case for some other of the repeat visits identified, but it was not possible to tell from the data collected.

Part 3 of 5

Part 1 – Summary
Part 2 – Introduction
Part 3 – Non-visa nationals
Part 4 – Visa nationals: successful applicants
Part 5 – Visa nationals: unsuccessful applicants

An Investigation into Student Visitors – Introduction

Research Report into UK Student Visitors (Migration and Border Analysis, Home Office Science)

Introduction

Overview of student visitor route

The student visitor route was introduced in 2007 to enable people to visit the UK to undertake a short course of study for up to six months. Unlike students seeking entry under Tier 4 of the Points-Based System, student visitors do not have to be sponsored by an educational institution, but they must attend an institution that is accredited to provide education. Student visitors may take any course of six months or less in duration but cannot undertake work or work experience placements, bring dependents or switch to another immigration category whilst in the UK.

Visa nationals require entry clearance while non-visa nationals can receive entry clearance at the port in the UK. Entry Clearance Officers and Border Force Officers have discretionary powers to refuse a visa and/or entry if they are not satisfied about the credibility of the student visitor’s intentions.

The extended student visitor route allows entry for up to 11 months for those studying English language courses. Entering the UK on this route requires entry clearance prior to arrival for both visa and non-visa nationals. This route is included in the population statistics, however, it is not covered by the samples analysed in this report.

Aim of the study

The Government has recently reformed the Tier 4 student route to attract and retain the brightest and the best students, whilst also reducing abuse. In the context of these changes, there has been debate on the student visitor route. The aim of this study is to develop the evidence base on student visitors and establish if this short term study route is being used as intended. This report will inform future
decisions taken by the Home Office in relation to the route.

The study examines non-visa national and visa national student visitors, as well as those who applied for a student visit visa but were unsuccessful. The similarities and differences between these groups are analysed.

Key areas of interest covered in the report include:

  • the characteristics of courses student visitors are undertaking;
  • the nature of the institutions they are attending; and
  • their immigration histories.

Overview of the student visitor population

The most recent data on passenger arrivals show that in 2011, 262,000 people were admitted to the UK under the student visitor route. The majority of these (186,150) were non-visa nationals, including (115,000) from the US. During 2012, 68,372 people were issued student visit visas. This included Russian (10,246), Chinese (9,190) and Turkish nationals (7,621).

Table 1: Student arrivals in the UK, 2011

Country of nationality Tier 4 Student Visitors 2010 Student Visitors 2011
US 12,400 126,000 115,000
Brazil 1,410 10,500 19,300
Russia 3,240 13,900 17,200
Japan 3,230 13,400 15,800
China 48,000 9,240 11,500
Turkey 2,990 8,040 11,000
Saudi Arabia 5,490 5,310 5,920
Taiwan 2,970 4,750 5,570
S. Korea 4,710 4,210 5,510
Mexico 945 2,550 3,890
Canada 3,230 3,330 3,750
India 29,700 3,580 3,610
Hong Kong 6,070 3,360 2,940
Thailand 4,730 2,010 2,700
Australia 1,220 1,490 2,670
Argentina 95 1,810 2,430
Ukraine 955 1,650 2,270
Columbia 2,510 1,120 2,100
Nigeria 10,400 1,950 1,830
Rest of the world 81,380 21,800 26,575
Totals 226,000 218,000 262,000

Source: Migration Statistics. Table ad.03.s: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/science-research-statistics/research-statistics/immigration-asylum-research/immigration-tabs-q3-2012/admissions-q3-2012-tabs

The number of student visitor arrivals in 2011 represents a 9 per cent increase on 2010 arrivals. This increase was higher for some nationalities and particularly high (84%) for Brazilians. Additionally, visa statistics suggest the number of student visitors has continued to increase since 2011; in the year ending March 2013, 69,542 people were issued student visitor visas, a 6% increase on the previous year.

Figure 1: Trends in student visitor entries, 2007–2011

fig1_svv-trends

Source: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/science-research-statistics/research-statistics/immigration-asylum-research/immigration-tabs-q3-2012/admissions-q3-2012-tabs

Methods

Non-visa nationals

A four-week period (6 November–2 December 2012) was spent collecting a pilot sample of non-visa national student visitors at Heathrow (Terminals 1, 3, 4 and 5). Heathrow was chosen for the collection of the sample as it receives more student visitors than any other port. Border Force Officers captured information on every non-visa national student visitor coming through the port. This is the only point at which non-visa nationals give their details to the Home Office and therefore this was the most appropriate method for capturing the sample. Although Border Force officers routinely record details of each student visitor on landing cards, specially designed pro-formas were used in the exercise for ease of data collection.

Due to the untested nature of this method of data collection, the sample is not representative. Therefore whilst it can give helpful indications about the people who use the route, caution should be taken when generalising sample findings to the population of non-visa national student visitors as a whole.

Due to the nature of the sample design, the information provided on non-visa nationals is more limited than for visa nationals; however it still covers the key areas of interest.

Visa nationals

Student visitor visa application forms were used to provide this sample. The information obtained for each person in the sample is the same information provided in the visa application.

To select the sample, a list of all applicants for a student visit visa for a one year period between June 2011 and 31 May 2012 was drawn from the Central Reference System (CRS), the database used to record and process visa applications. There were 67,998 cases: 60,492 successful applicants, 7,506 unsuccessful applicants. Unresolved cases were excluded.

Samples of successful and unsuccessful applicants were drawn separately. For successful applicants, a simple random sample using systematic selection was drawn. Cases were ordered by nationality, visa-issuing post, age and date of application and a systematic random sample was
drawn. This ensured that the sample represented a spread of nationalities, visa-issuing posts, ages and application dates. For unsuccessful cases, a systematic random sample from a random start was also drawn, but four of the top five nationalities (Russians, Nigerians, Indians, Chinese) were oversampled to maximise the possibility of analysis by nationality. In all, 750 successful applicants were selected and 306 unsuccessful applicants.

Weighting was used to compensate for the oversampling to ensure the correct representation.

Only statistically significant findings (to 95% level) are reported in the text.

Part 2 of 5

Part 1 – Summary
Part 2 – Introduction
Part 3 – Non-visa nationals
Part 4 – Visa nationals: successful applicants
Part 5 – Visa nationals: unsuccessful applicants

How to Find Your Student Accommodation

For international students, finding a place to stay is high up on the list of priorities. Most have some kind of idea of what kind of place they’d like, but actually finding acceptable accommodation can be tricky. Here’s a quick list to help you on your way.

1. Start Early

You’d be surprised how quickly the best and most conveniently located student accommodation will be booked. Give yourself the widest possible choice by starting to look as early as you can. If you leave it too late, you could miss out on some great properties. Remember too that many areas don’t have enough accommodation, so get in early!

2. Where?

This is a very important question to ask yourself. Pick a couple of ideal areas and limit your property search to those areas. You quest for student accommodation will be much more efficient if done in this way. Living close to your education provider might be want you want (nice lie ins!) but, you should probably expect to pay extra for such a luxury. Don’t forget to research the local area, perhaps asking locals, friends and even your education agent – so you can avoid any undesirable areas – they may seem attractive, as rent is often quite a lot lower, but remember to stay safe.

3. To share or not?

If you live with friends or your fellow students, you can expect other costs related to your student accommodation to be lower. If you’re looking for students to share with, check local message boards, community groups online and your university students’ union.

4. Get viewing!

Arguably the most important step. You’d never buy something without seeing it, so why commit to renting property you haven’t seen? Viewing student accommodation is important to ensure you are happy with it, to ask any questions you may have and to see if you feel at home.

5. Extras?

Also find out what extras you will be responsible for paying. Some student accommodation includes wireless internet access and water, heating etc bills, whereas others will require you to pay this in addition to the rent.

6. How accessible?

What’s the transport like around the property? Can you easily get to and from university? How will you get back home late at night? What kind of time will have you to leave in the mornings to get to class on time?

Good luck!

Swansea Most Improved Welsh Uni

The Guardian University Guide 2014 has shown Swansea University to be the most improved Welsh university, and the fourth largest riser in the UK.

Swansea University rose 34 places over the past three years, from 94 to 60. There are 120 universities ranked in total.

Swansea University scored particularly well for teaching, overall satisfaction and career prospects. The University has a remarkable track record of graduate employment: within six months of graduating, 92% of graduates found full-time employment.

Swansea University has also launched a paid internship scheme allowing undergraduates to gain valuable work experience. In partnership with the South Wales Evening Post, Swansea University undergraduates are placed on summer internships with local business.

The paid internship scheme is one of several schemes the University has launched in order to better assist students find gainful employment after graduating, delivered under the Swansea Employability Academy.

Of the ranking results, Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Hilary Lappin-Scott said: “To have soared 34 places in just three years in one of the UK’s most renowned league tables is outstanding. The rankings are a recognisable measure of our performance, reputation and the excellence of the experience which we provide to our students.”

“The University is pushing ahead with its £250m Science and Innovation Campus development to be completed in 2015 and is already spending £70m modernising facilities on our Singleton Campus. Coupled with a stunning location and even sharing sports facilities with a Premier League football club the vibrancy and reputation of the University is starting to be recognised. We will continue to push forward our ambitious agendas to help propel us further.”

Sports Science is an area that Swansea University has performed well in, jumping to 5th place from 40th last year. Head of Sports Science at Swansea, Prof Gareth Stratton said: “Maybe the best way of describing sports science is that it’s the same as CSI, but it’s the forensics of exercise instead of crime. We want to produce graduates who are scientists, using sport and exercise as a background.”

Stratton believes part of this success stems from the re-locating of the Sports Sceince department from the School of Health to the College of Engineering. Stratton said: “There is a tight focus on how Sports Science can be practically applied, using engineering skills to look at sports injuries, or, for example, barriers to an individual’s movement caused by disability. This, together with high-profile internships with major sporting teams and venues, has made Swansea students highly employable when they graduate.”

The Pro Vice-Chancellor added: “Earlier this year Swansea University was recognised as one of the world’s top 200 institutions by the QS World University Subject Rankings. Since 2012 it has excelled with not one but four subject areas in the top 200. An outstanding performance.”

“Together these tables show that as an ambitious, research-led institution with top quality teaching, Swansea is an excellent place to study for UK, EU and international students. All in all Swansea is a University on the way up.”

An Investigation into Student Visitors – Summary

Research Report into UK Student Visitors (Migration and Border Analysis, Home Office Science)

Background

The student visitor route was introduced in 2007 and allows people to visit the UK to undertake a short course of study for up to six months.

The Government has recently reformed the Tier 4 student route to attract and retain the brightest and the best students, whilst also reducing abuse. In the context of these changes, there has been debate on the student visitor route. The aim of this study is to develop the evidence base on student visitors and establish if this short term study route is being used as intended. This report will inform future decisions taken by the Home Office in relation to the route.

The study examines non-visa national and visa national student visitors, as well as those who applied for a student visit visa but were unsuccessful. Key areas of interest covered in the report include the characteristics of courses student visitors are undertaking, the type of the institutions they are attending, and their immigration histories.

Unlike students seeking entry under Tier 4 of the Points-Based System, student visitors do not have to be formally sponsored by an educational institution, but they must attend an institution that is accredited to provide education. Student visitors may take any course of six months or less in duration but cannot undertake work or work experience placements, bring dependants or switch to another immigration category whilst in the UK.

Visa nationals require entry clearance while non-visa nationals can apply for entry at the port in the UK. Entry Clearance Officers and Border Force Officers have discretionary powers to refuse a visa and/or entry if they are not satisfied that the applicant is a genuine student visitor.

The most recent statistics on entry to the UK show that during 2011, 262,000 student visitors came to the UK. Most of these student visitors were from non-visa countries (186,150), including 115,000 from the US. More recent statistics on visas issued show 68,372 student visit visas were issued during 2012. This included Russians (10,246), Chinese (9,190) and Turkish nationals (7,621). The number of student visitor arrivals has been increasing each year, and increased by 9 per cent from 2010 to 2011.

These figures include the extended student visitor route (permitting entry for up to 11 months for the study of English language courses) introduced in January 2011 and for which both visa and non-visa nationals are required to gain prior entry clearance. This route, however, is not covered in the scope of the report.

Method

Visa nationals

A sample of 750 successful and 306 unsuccessful student visit visa applications was drawn from the Central Reference System (the database where visa applications are recorded
and processed) for the period 1 June 2011 to 31 May 2012. A systematic random sampling method was used to ensure the sample was representative.

Non-visa nationals

A sample of 947 student visitor arrivals was surveyed at Heathrow in November 2012 in a pilot exercise. Border Force Officers were asked to complete a pro forma for each non-visa national arrival answering questions about the applicant’s intentions for their stay in the UK. Due to the nature of the sample design, the sample is not representative of the population as a whole but gives an indication of the usage of the route.

Findings

The evidence suggests the student visitor route is being used as intended and abuse is minimal.

Non-visa nationals and visa nationals: successful applicants

  • Around two-thirds of both visa and non-visa national student visitors (64% and 62% respectively) were coming to the UK to study an English language course. Other popular courses included exchange programmes – this applied to 85 per cent of US nationals in the non-visa sample.
  • The majority of student visitors in the sample were coming to study at institutions on the Tier 4 Register (87% of non-visa nationals and 90% of visa nationals). No student visitors were admitted to attend institutions where the Tier 4 licence had been revoked due to a breach of sponsorship obligations.
  • Most student visitors were studying for less than three months. The median length of courses studied was eight weeks in length for non-visa nationals and four weeks for visa nationals. In both samples, students reported staying in the UK for a similar time as the length of their course.
  • Nationalities: The majority of sampled non-visa national student visitors were Brazilian (35%) or US nationals (27%), with a further 17 per cent of the sample being Japanese, and 7 per cent Korean. For visa nationals, around two-thirds of successful applicants were from the top five nationalities (Russians, Chinese, Turkish, Saudi Arabians and Indians).
  • Course fees: The median course fee for sampled non-visa national student visitors was £2,308. Visa nationals on average paid less (median of £1,457). Most (72%) of the successful applicants for a student visit visa paid some costs towards their course before applying for a visa.
  • Qualifications studied for: The majority of courses taken by both visa and non-visa national student visitors did not lead to a qualification with equivalence to the National Qualification Framework (NQF). However, almost one-third of the non-visa sample, including 89 per cent of US national student visitors were studying courses leading to qualifications equivalent to degree level (NQF levels 6–8).
  • Previous visits: A minority (7%) of non-visa nationals reported previous dates they had come to the UK as a student visitor. Of visa nationals, 19 per cent of successful applicants reported having studied in the UK previously.
  • Immigration histories: Less than one per cent of successful applicants for student visit visas had been refused entry to the UK in the previous ten years.

Unsuccessful applicants for a student visit visa

  • Background and intentions: The unsuccessful visa applicants were more than twice as likely to be unemployed as successful visa applicants (17% compared with 7%), and those in employment had a lower net monthly income than successful applicants (median £610 compared with £1,000). Additionally, the intended length of course and stay in the UK were considerably longer for unsuccessful applicants (median course length 58 days and trip length 77 days compared with medians of 27 days and 29 days for successful applicants).
  • Courses and institutions: Unsuccessful applicants were more likely to propose studying English language courses (74% compared with 64% for successful visa applicants) and less likely to propose to attend institutions on the Tier 4 Register (79% compared with 90% for successful visa
    applicants).
  • Reasons for refusal: In around one-half of all cases each of the following reasons were given (where each case may have been given more than one reason): insufficient documents or
    information submitted with the application; doubt over the applicant’s intention to leave at the end of their studies; doubt over the applicant genuinely coming to the UK to study and belief they may be coming to seek work; and doubt over the availability of funds to cover the costs related to coming to the UK to study.

Part 1 of 5

Part 1 – Summary
Part 2 – Introduction
Part 3 – Non-visa nationals
Part 4 – Visa nationals: successful applicants
Part 5 – Visa nationals: unsuccessful applicants

Student Life From Times Gone Past

Students from Swansea University have uncovered the past of the University’s students’ union, uncovering details of what it was like to be a Swansea student many moons ago.

They discovered evidence for 1920s style speed-dating, a cheaper beer campaign lasting 30 years and an article from a student newspaper on the pressing issue of dirty crockery and bad food.

Even during the so-called “swinging 60s”, rules uncovered for the female halls of residence were strict indeed.

The research was carried about by history students at the University. One student, Sion Durham, was awarded an Archives Wales prize for his contribution, where amongst other things he discovered a long running campaign for a student bar.

Sion said records should the campaign lasted 30 years, but was held-back by, “one wild night in 1958 which ended up with lots of glasses being smashed”.

“After this episode students needed to prove more than ever that they were trustworthy enough to run their own bar. In fact this didn’t happen until 1988,” he added.

And what-of the strict female dormitory rules? It was found that during 1956 – 6 female residents had to “air rooms, make beds and wash up…and to ask permission from the warden if they wished to be away overnight”.

There were some serious discoveries made too. A plaque from the 1980s was discovered opposing Sourth African apartheid. It was commissioned to commemorate a visit by an African National Congress Representative while Nelson Mandela was still imprisoned.

The idea behind this research work was to design a new module that gave Swansea University students the experience of sharing practical historical knowledge, said Dr Louise Miskell, senior lecturer in history and classics. The hope is to improve students’ employability after graduation.

“Working with original sources is really important to Swansea, and when the Student Union records were deposited in the archive it was the perfect opportunity,” she said.

“It meant students were able to look at minute books of meetings, student newspapers, and all the doings of previous generations of students at Swansea.”

Dr Miskell said that previously, student unions were not seen in the way they are today. “They’ve also had a really important role in politics and campaigning over the years, which really comes across in the archive.”

“This was a strong feature of the literature, exhibition and web material the students produced during the course of their studies,” she said.

Swansea University archivist Elisabeth Bennett said the institution would be incomplete without the history of the students.

“Here at the Richard Burton Archives our aims are to preserve the records in our care and to help people use them,” she said.

“It’s great to see students using archives as part of their courses and there is a lot more potential for them to be used as we are open to the general public as well as staff and students.”

VIDEO – IELTS Speaking 4 – Pronunciation

We’ve collected some videos providing tips for the IELTS test.

We have four videos for the Speaking test and one for the Writing test.

Today’s video is about pronunciation.


[videojs mp4=”http://www.adviceforyou.org.uk/assets/video/ielts-4.mp4″ height=”349″ width=”468″ preload=”auto”]

This criteria focuses on the accuracy and variety of punctuation varieties:

  • Individual sounds – word spellings can sometimes confuse this
  • Word stress – stressing the wrong syllable in a word is a common error
  • Sentence stress – for instance, the way that some words in a sentence are emphasised or slightly louder
  • Intonation – the pitch of your voice as you speak
  • Chunking – talking in a rhythm that delivers chunks of words with short silences in between

To improve your pronunciation:

  • Find out how rhythm, intonation and stress differs from your native language
  • Ensure you understand the effect of intonation and stress on meaning
  • Practice using these in different ways
  • Refer to a dictionary to confirm the correct word stress if you are unsure
  • Listen to a variety of authentic English sources to become familiar with a range of pronunciation features
  • Don’t rush when you speak – this is a common mistake, and you might skip things
  • Record yourself and try to apply the above

Part 4 of 4:

Part 1: Fluency & Coherence

Part 2: Lexical Resource

Part 3: Grammatical range & accuracy

Part 4: Pronunciation

University of Oxford Scholarship Season

It’s that time of year again, where potential international students wishing to study at one of the UK’s finest institutions can apply for scholarships.

83 Rhodes Scholarships are awarded each for for full-time postgraduate studies. The scheme is open to 14 countries around the world and each scholarship covers full fees, modest living expenses and a return airfare.

Applications for 2014 are now open.

Rhodes Scholarships are to support outstanding all-round students at the University of Oxford. In short, the aim is to provide transformative opportunities for exceptional individuals. Applicants require outstanding intellect, character, leadership, and commitment to service. They want potential “leaders for the world’s future”.

The Rhodes Scholarships are awarded to study any full-time course at postgraduate level offered by University of Oxford and entry for successful applicants may not normally be deferred.

The Scholarships last for two years and are subject – at all times – to satisfactory academic progression and personal conduct. There is scope for the scholarship to be extended to a third year, for those students who take a recognized route to the Dphil. The Masters of Business Administration (MBA) and the Masters of Financial Economics (MFE) are only tenable in the second year of the Scholarship.

There are some quite strict eligibility criteria which follow (they do vary between Rhodes constituencies, so be sure to check:

  • Applicants must meet the citizenship and residency requirements
  • Applicants must be aged between 18 to 28 (on 1st October the following year of application)
  • Applicants must be suitable for study at Oxford and therefore should be able to met the regular entry requirements required for their chosen course. In addition, as scholarship winners, applicants will be expected to demonstrate how they can perform over and above the required minimum. Rhodes Scholars are required to perform to a very high academic level and competition for places is fierce.

The Rhodes Scholarship is available to applicants from the following countries:

  • Australia
  • Bermuda
  • Canada
  • Germany
  • Hong Kong
  • India
  • Jamaica & the Commonwealth Caribbean
  • Kenya
  • New Zealand
  • Pakistan
  • Southern Africa (including South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia and Swaziland)
  • United States
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

Four criteria are used to select Rhodes Scholars:

  1. literary and scholastic attainments
  2. energy to use one’s talents to the full
  3. truth, courage, devotion to duty, sympathy for and protection of the weak, kindliness, unselfishness and fellowship
  4. moral force of character and instincts to lead, and to take an interest in one’s fellow beings.

How to apply in broad terms (remember to check the exact details for your constituency):

  • Evidence of academic record / transcript (complete or in progress) of undergraduate degree and any postgraduate study
  • Curriculum vitae/resumé or list of principal activities
  • Personal statement or essay (including, crucially, a clear statement of what the applicant wishes to study at Oxford and why)
  • Evidence of age / birth certificate / passport
  • English Language proficiency (where English is not the first language)
  • Photograph
  • List of referees (usually several are required) who can attest in confidential references to the character and intellect of the applicant, including academic, personal, extra-curricular and leadership achievements (and who should never include people to whom you are related).

Application deadline dates:

  • Australia (closing date 3 September 2013)
  • Bermuda (closing date 25 October 2013)
  • Canada (closing date 18 October 2013)
  • Germany (closing date 30 September 2013)
  • Hong Kong (closing date 25 September 2013)
  • India (closing date 31 July 2013)
  • Jamaica and the Commonwealth Caribbean (closing date 30 September 2013)
  • Kenya (closing date 31 August 2013)
  • New Zealand (closing date 1 August 2013)
  • Pakistan (closing date 31 August 2013)
  • Southern Africa (closing date 15 August 2013)
  • Zambia (closing date 11 October 2013)
  • Zimbabwe (closing date 1 August 2013)
  • Applications for Rhodes Scholarships in the United States will open on 1 July (closing date 2 October 2013).