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UNITED KINGDOM: UK Universities To Be Forced To Improve Admissions Procedures

UK universities are set to come under increasing pressure to outsource the compliance elements of enrolling foreign students when changes to the Immigration Rules come into effect in November this year.  The Home Office has announced that it will reduce the percentage of student visa refusals, which can lead to the removal of a university's Highly Trusted Sponsor status.  Currently, universities risk losing this status and with it their ability to enroll foreign students, if 20% or more of its foreign student applicants subsequently have their visas refused.  This will be reduced to 10% in November, giving universities just three months to put in place improvements to their admissions procedures.

Most applicants apply to universities online and do not attend an interview.  It is difficult to fathom how universities will be able to eliminate the risk of a student failing to make a successful visa application, unless they have staff located abroad to meet the prospective students and shepherd them through the visa process.  Alternatively, this measure may well force universities to outsource the compliance and visa assistance for students to third-party providers to safeguard their Highly Trusted Sponsor status.

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