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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

As UK relaxes intake rules for students, agents bend point system

Students can even go to the UK without taking the IELTS as several of the country’s colleges/universities which had been offering courses on the basis of the point system and their own internal English test and not IELTS before the pandemic, did so even during.

Written by Anju Agnihotri Chaba | Jalandhar |
Updated: September 3, 2021 10:08:31 am
As UK relaxes intake rules for students, agents bend point systemStudents going to the UK have enough time to work and earn alongwith their studies as they are allowed to work for 20 hours in a week. (Express File/Representative Image)

While countries like Canada, Australia and New Zealand — soughtafter destinations for higher studies among Indian students — have either almost sealed their borders or imposed a lot of restrictions amid the pandemic, the UK has been taking in students with mild quarantine conditions.

Students can even go to the UK without taking the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) as several of the country’s colleges/universities which had been offering courses on the basis of the point system and their own internal English test and not IELTS before the pandemic, did so even during.

However, several unscrupulous travel agents in Punjab and Haryana are misusing the point system and offering hefty packages to those whose aim is not to study in the UK but reach there on student visa and then work there instead. Consultants say that these agents are hampering the interests of several genuine students who want to go to the UK for study purposes.

“UK universities have been offering courses with or without IELTS on the basis of the point system and internal English proficiency test. At least 70 points are required for a student to become eligible for taking admission there. In this point system, 30 points are for Confirmation of Acceptance (CAS), which is provided by the university to the student, 10 points for sufficient funds in the accounts of the student or his/her family so that the student can pursue his/her studies in the UK, 10 points are given for medium of instruction of his/her study at India like proof of 70% to 80% in the English subject in class XII, and remaining 20 points for other factors like how well students fare in the university’s own test, etc.” said Chitresh Dhawan, owner of Dhawan Educational in Amritsar, one of the oldest consultancies for studying abroad in the state.

“Many universities have started rejecting applications from Punjab and Haryana because these agents are selling fraudulent packages to several non genuine students by preparing forged papers for funds and other documents to show eligibility of the students to take admission in universities there,” he said.

“They are particularly luring those who failed in clearing IELTS, which is mandatory in every country including many universities in the UK, and offering them packages of Rs 18-20 lakh which includes one year fee of the university and other expenses including travelling,” he added.

“This is too high a price as normally one year fee costs a students between Rs 13 to 14 lakh but under this package system these agents are charging Rs 4 to 6 lakh etc. from mostly ingenuine students,” said Gurpreet Singh, another consultant based in Kapurthala, adding that it is very common now in Punjab that a large number of those going to the UK on study visa are not going for studying purposes but to reach there and earn money.

“There are reports that students are not attending their classes after landing there and they start working to earn, which is creating a very wrong impression of Indian students, mainly from Punjab and Haryana, in the records of these universities. Now they are looking at every student from Punjab suspiciously and a couple of universities have already stopped taking Punjabi students,” said Dhawan.

Gurpal Singh Oppal, a UK-based immigration expert and renowned immigration solicitor, also confirmed the same through his social media post, that many UK universities have stopped accepting students from Punjab and Haryana and this is due to fraudulent packages being sold by agents, forged documents to become eligible, and students not attending the universities after arriving in the UK.

“This may lead to total ban on students from Punjab by many UK universities and it will harm the interests of genuine students in the future. IELTS with 6 to 6.5 bands must be made compulsory by every university in the UK to stop intake of non-genuine students,” suggested Dhawan.

Students going to the UK have enough time to work and earn alongwith their studies as they are allowed to work for 20 hours in a week. Even after completing their studies, they get a two-year work permit. Though they will not be eligible for permanent residence (PR), they can work in that time or also pursue the post graduate courses there, said consultants dealing with study in the UK. They said the
government should check such developments through registered bodies of consultants dealing with students applying abroad.

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