Embassy intransigence

10th September 2004 at 01:00
Your report (FE Focus, August 13) on how colleges have responded to the Prime Minister's initiative makes for interesting reading.

In the light of apparent new changes in the issuing of visas to Chinese nationals, however, I find it difficult to accept the forecast in the British Council's Vision 2020 document that Chinese and Indian students will number some 637,500 by that year.

Currently, visa acceptances for Chinese students requiring a college place are down to 70 per cent. This appears to be the result of the British Embassy and Consulate offices switching to a paper visa examination process and, at the same time, adopting an intransigent approach.

In the course of a recent visit to China and a subsequent meeting with an entry clearance officer, we were left in no doubt that the intention is actually to debar valid students from access to the UK.

At least visas for summer-school students would be forthcoming, we thought.

Not the case, according to the official who claimed "they are all runners".

We have never lost a full-time or summer-school student and the overriding ambition of our students is to gain a place at a good university and return to China so that they may benefit from working in an economy that rather puts the economies of the West into the shade.

Visa officials appear ignorant of the FE sector and its potential, and the Association of Colleges and the Learning and Skills Council have a role in an overdue enlightenment.

Ioan Morgan

Principal, Warwickshire college

Leamington Spa

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today