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Tips and Guidance for Students Aspiring to Study Abroad

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Tips and Guidance for Students Aspiring to Study Abroad
« on: August 08, 2014, 10:17:17 AM »
Tips and Guidance for Students Aspiring to Study Abroad
Lahore:08 August:An interview with Syed Abidi (Tamgha e Imtiaz), a renowned educationist and international expert on student visa
Thousands of Pakistani students proceed to study abroad every year in different countries with major focus on United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, US, EU, Turkey, Malaysia, Cyprus, etc. With the growing knowledge of Internet and the increasing usage of computers many of them can now seek first hand information with just one click. However, it is essential that one understands and translates this vital information to use in the best interest of their visa application for a specific country.
Rules and procedures differ from country to country but one thing is clear that most OECD countries are placing tougher restrictions to protect abuse of their immigration laws through the student visa route. For example, United Kingdom, which was the most sought after destination during the past many years has brought about radical changes in their border control regulations, particularly with the student visa now called Teir-4. Likewise, other major countries have put in place different rules and regulations such as the student streamline process which is also a point based system.
Since the month of July and August every year is called the season of visa applications in view of the September/Fall start of courses around the world, this correspondent had the opportunity of talking to Mr Syed Abidi who has been working for more than 22 years as an international education expert. He is a recipient of Tamgha e Imtiaz and a regular columnist of Daily Jang and The News to answer a few questions for the guidance and help to our student community who are aspiring to study abroad or confused about the process of visa application.
Q. In your opinion, what is the first most important factor a student should consider when applying for a student visa?
A. In my opinion, the most crucial factor is to understand the concept and ask yourself; Am I a genuine student? What is the purpose? Am I intending to go only for studies?


Q. We continuously hear about the changes that take place in student visa rules especially for counties like UK, Australia, Canada, etc. Why is this happening? Is it particularly for Pakistani students?


Ans: Every country has a right to protect its borders and to allow legitimate and bona fide persons in their country. Following the 9/11 incident all these countries you mentioned realised that the student visa route was being misused and abused in the context of illegal immigration following which these countries made intensive changes in their student visa rules. However, the imposition of these rules does not affect genuine students at all; in fact, genuine and potential students find it more simple and easy to apply for visa now.


Q. If we begin with UK student visa, can you give us some guidelines for our students and readers e.g. what they should or shouldn’t do while making a visa application.


Ans: Yes, the UK student visa is called the Tier-4 (General). All students over the age of 16 years can apply for this visa. This visa is based on 40 points in total to qualify technically; 30 points are allocated for academic eligibility which means that you are issued with a valid Confirmation of Acceptance (CAS) for studies in the UK from a fully licenced Tire-4 sponsor, the remaining 10 points are allocated to you on providing evidence that you can cover your tuition fee and monthly living costs/maintenance funds during your studies. All students who wish to study in UK should consider or choose the institution very carefully as the UKVI has registered all UK institutions, private or public, under two main categories; trusted and highly trusted sponsors. I would recommend they choose HTS institutes for their studies. Having achieved all these points and being in receipt of CAS they are all set to submit their visa application which has now been made online. However, before they do that they must ensure that they are in possession of the paperwork which was used as evidence for their CAS. Normally this includes


* Original academic certificates/degrees


* A TB clearance certificate issued by an IOM authorised clinic


* Original bank statements covering the cost of studies as above from a recognise bank (the UKVI approval list)


Q: I have heard that students are being interviewed in Pakistan for UK student visa. This was not the practice before. Is that true?


A: Yes, since more than a year now all students applying for student visa are interviewed by Entry Clearance Officer (ECO), initially on Skype on the day of the submission of the application. But they may also be asked to attend for a physical interview at the British High Commission (BHC) Islamabad if required.


Q: Can you tell us for the sake of our students what is this interview about and some tips to prepare?


Ans: If you are a genuine and potential student seeking entry to UKVI trusted or HTS institution and you have received a CAS you should not worry too much. The interview is basically to determine your genuine status and whether or not you can demonstrate the knowledge, information and reasons of proceeding to UK and to the chosen institution along with your plans. The ECO only wants to verify that he is allowing a genuine student to enter UK and that’s all.


Q: In case, the UK student visa is refused is there any appeals or the rejection is final?


Ans: No, certainly not. If the student feels and is confident that the rejection is not a fair decision and the ECO has not taken the full evidence in account when refusing the visa application you can apply for the administrative review.


Q: What is the current UK student visa fee?


Ans: Depending on the exchange rate it varies. Currently it is £ 310 and is paid directly online.


Q: Should a student use an agent or adviser for the purpose of filing Tier-4 student visa?


A: Usually students apply for admission either directly or through a university representative duly authorised. They should help the students in filing visa application. However, the student should be careful while choosing agents or representatives and only use such agencies after verifying the repute and track record. Most of the universities have clearly indicated on their website the details of their authorised representatives. I would strictly warn students not to make payments through agents that are not qualified to do so or pay hefty sums to agents for visa applications.


Q: My next question is regarding the Australian student visa. Can you give me the brief salient features?


Ans: The new Australian student visa is called the Streamlined Visa Process (SVP). Under this process all students planning to study in Australia for a full time higher education course can apply. Again the students must ensure that they choose an institute which is approved and eligible education provider and partner under the migration regulation 1994, under sub clause 573 and 574. When applying for this visa you must have a Confirmation of Enrollment (COE) with a university or non university higher education provider participating in the SVP arrangement for Bachelors, Masters, PhD and non award study abroad programmes. Students should be careful if they wish to combine a non award study programme with any primary courses in which case they may not be eligible to use the SVP but shall be assessed according to the applicable assessment level. The following documents are required to secure COE and subsequently apply for student visas under SVP:


* Original academic certificates/degrees used to receive offer letter and COE


* Original bank statements covering the cost of studies


Q: Will I be interviewed for Australian visa too?


Ans: Normally no, if all your documents are in order and you have your COE in your hand.


Q: The students applying to Canada are complaining about late visa processing. Some of the students I met have not heard for over eight weeks from the Canadian High Commission. What is the process and what is the time scale required?


A: Usually, we advise students aspiring to go to North America or USA to apply as early as three to four months to ensure they keep the timeline especially for the Fall/September intake. It is true that the Canadian visa section takes at least four to ten weeks to respond. Some cases may take even longer due to investigations. You don’t need a visa interview for Canada and the following checklist will serve as a guideline for students:


* All original academic and identification documents


* SAT or GMAT/GRE where applicable


* Proof of English as IELTS or TOEFL


* Letter of acceptance from a licenced Canadian institute


* Proof of funds covering tuition fee and living expenses for first year at the least


Q: Anything you would like to say to our students aspiring to go abroad based on your experience and expertise and can they contact you?


Ans: My advice to the student community is to ensure that you have comprehensively looked at all the pros and cons of your study plans and the chosen destination, university and courses should match your career objectives.
Never depend on supporting yourself with jobs while studying as this may not happen all the times and please select your adviser or consultant based on their repute and track record. Students are more than welcome to write to me on the following email if they have questions.The news.
If you born poor, its not your fault....But if you die poor, its your fault...."Bill Gates"

Offline hamnajain

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Re: Tips and Guidance for Students Aspiring to Study Abroad
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2018, 11:51:11 AM »
Thank you for the guides and tips. Even though this is an older post it's really useful for students like me.  I did my IELTS training from UOWD in Dubai ( ) I cracked the test in the first attempt itself. Now i am doing my master's in Canada. They provided many study material's and mock exams and the faculties, they were very supportive throughout the  course.