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

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