London: An Indian woman who applied for a student visa in New Delhi has been arrested by the police after it was discovered that she used another person to appear for her in the mandatory English language test, the Home Office said.
The UK Border Agency, which is responsible for immigration, referred the applicant to the police in New Delhi. The applicant's visa application has been refused, and she has been banned from the UK for up to 10 years, a statement said.
According to recently released figures by the National Audit Office (NAO), there was a surge in the number of forgeries detected in student visa applications lodged in New Delhi during 2010, when the British high commission stopped accepting new applications.
The NAO report said that 6,388 forgeries were detected in the New Delhi office, which was a considerable increase compared to the number of forgeries detected in previous years: 2,846 in 2009 and 2,153 in 2008.
Responding to the latest example of forgery by the woman applicant, Regional Director Thomas Greig said: "We have made it very clear that we will continue to welcome all Indian students who wish to study at the UK’s high quality institutions and meet the new criteria. However, we will not tolerate abuse of our immigration system and have a zero tolerance to fraud, as this case shows."
Students who wish to undertake long term study under Tier 4 of the points based system are required to pass an English language test with an approved test provider to show that they are proficient in English language to the required standard, unless they are intending to study at degree level or above at a university.
The statement said the UK Border Agency had an integrated fraud assessment unit in India, which uncovers and investigates high volumes of fraud and forgery in UK visa applications.
Over the last 12 months the UK government has made significant changes to student visa policy to eliminate abuse of student visas by some UK education institutions and by students who have been motivated to work rather than study, the statement added.