Schools in the UK are not as reliable as I thought they were. I realized that in the last 17 months.
17 months ago, I started a journey to apply to a UK college to further my Nursing studies or hopefully get a Master’s Degree. I didn’t realize what a struggle it would be. As the months dragged on, my experience with UK schools seems to get more extensive brought about by the constant changes in immigration laws and the so many problems that ensued.
St. Patrick’s College is the 3rd school I have applied to. The previous 2 were Regent International Graduate School and Thames International College. Both schools ended up being suspended by the UKBA. I thought that things would be different with St. Patrick since they proudly say they have a long history behind them. But still they ended up being suspended too. Now maybe I’m just unlucky in my choices but still I would highly recommend to those who are still starting the process that please choose your schools wisely or it will end up costing you a lot of money and waste a lot of your time. A year and a half has passed since I started this journey, and here I am again back to square one.
Suspended schools carry a lot of baggage. And stringent rules, under the eagle-sharp watchful eyes of the UKBA. And why shouldn’t the UKBA watch over them when they messed up already before? The trouble doesn’t even start there. Refunds to tuition fees that you, the student, has advanced to them will take forever. I still have to receive the tuition fee refund from Regent and I paid them back in Feb 2009 yet. Remember that the rules are there to protect the citizens of the United Kingdom, and not you, the international student. No one watches over you to makes sure that your rights are also protected. You got none of those in a foreign land.
My anger has stemmed tho, not from the suspension but what has happened after. I started the application process with St. Patrick in October 2009. By Nov 24, I had lodged my first visa application at the VFS. It got refused, bank technicalities. On Jan 14, I lodged a 2nd application, fixing my bank documents to meet the UKBA requirements. On Jan 18, St. Patrick got suspended. The visa application was put on hold. On March 3, the suspension was lifted. I was so happy. I thought that now finally, the visa will be released. That wasn’t what happened. Last week, an official from the school arrived, to do interviews. Evidently, of the 150 (or so) visa applications currently pending and on hold at the British Embassies worldwide, they had to choose 30 because that was the only available slots allotted to them by the UKBA. So just when you are so close to the finish line, they stop you to say…sorry the rules have changed. No biggie there…but it affects you soooo much when the rules change and your application has been oh hold at the British Embassy for 2 ½ months already.
Today, I was told that I didn’t get a slot. The school wanted me to withdraw my application. Or what, you ask? I do not know. There was NO OTHER OPTION given. No choice of waiting for the next term…get wait-listed…nothing. Mind you, my application to the school had already been approved. The visa was supposed to be the last step. THE FINAL STEP! They had accepted my application. They had issued a CAS. I had paid my tuition, well partially. Hence, wouldn’t you think that that this is grossly unfair? Changing the rules right before they stamp your passport and give you your visa? Changes should be done for new applications. Not applications that are already at the embassy. Its just nuts!
How would you like to be told by the British Embassy that your application was refused cuz the school ran out of slots? Interesting thought huh? Maybe I shouldn’t withdraw it, just so I can see what reason they would put on the return documents.
So to you who is still going thru the process of your application, choose your schools wisely. Those that never had problems with the UKBA would be a good start, specially now that they have been suspending schools left and right. It would be a nice idea also to keep a list of schools that had been suspended and reinstated. Just to guide others in their decision-making.
Somehow, the United Kingdom doesn’t seem that ideal anymore.
This post was submitted by Joy.