Many foreign students in the UK are worried due to delays in issuing student visas, as in this situation they are in the middle of nowhere – they can neither stay legally in the UK, nor return to their own country.
The National Union of Students (NUS) calls these delays “outrage”, due to the fact that many students have been waiting for 5 months to receive their visas. There is a petition, which claims that because of this delay the foreign students` “basic rights” are being violated. At this stage the petition is signed by hundreds of students and growing.
The students, who suffer most from the delays are those renewing their visas in order to stay in the UK and find a job, after completion of their studies. Before the changes in April, this was an automatic right, however it is no longer the case. This is one of the main points to cause delays, as the number of visa applications has increased significantly and more technical time was required to process all the visa applications.
If a foreign student wants to stay to live and work in the UK after graduating they need a visa, but this requires submission of their passports together with the other documents. This means that while the visas are being processed, the applicants are not able to leave the country and return to their homeland, while in the same time being in the UK illegally, as they do not possess a valid visa.
According to the UK Border Agency the visa delays are not such a trouble, as these people have come to the UK to study and not to work. For that reason in April the automatic right for foreign UK students to work has been removed. He also said that the rest of the applications will be dealt with by the end of the summer and applicants will be contacted once the decision is made. In the mean time, they will be able to withdraw their applications and have their documents returned can do so by contacting the immigration inquiry bureau
Daniel Stevens, international students’ officer for the NUS, said: “It is clear that delays to the processing of visa applications is becoming a serious problem. International students are facing the direct financial and emotional costs of an under-resourced UKBA.”