Friday, Aug 08, 2003
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Jeff Wilson, First Secretary, Press and Public Affairs, British High Commission, New Delhi, writes:
Your article (by Hasan Suroor) on August 6 titled "U.K. visa fee hike for overseas students sparks protests" needs some clarification.
We continue to welcome foreign nationals who choose to study, work and live in the U.K. They bring a rich and diverse value to British society and we are committed to increasing the number of Indian visitors and students. But in order to make the management of immigration services in the U.K. more efficient we have introduced changes to the way in which they are handled. These changes do not impact on the way U.K. visa services operate in India.
From August 1, all non-E.U. foreign nationals will be charged for extending their stay in the U.K. These charges have been set to meet the cost of the operation and are part of the U.K.'s drive to improve the efficiency and speed in handling these applications.
However, it should be stressed that anyone who has already obtained a visa to travel to the U.K. should not be affected. For example, people holding student visas will be granted permission to stay in the U.K. on arrival for the whole period of their proposed study.
What these changes do allow is greater flexibility for those who wish to change their status in the U.K. For example, a degree-level student who wishes to work in the U.K. at the end of their studies can now apply to do that without having to incur the costs of leaving the U.K. to make a fresh visa application.
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