Our ignorant man in Pakistan

30th July 2004 at 01:00
To Islamabad, where preventing bogus students from getting into the UK means catching the blighters out on their home soil and sending them packing.

Well, sort of.

I hear Pakistan is just one of the countries where the British embassy's knowledge of the UK's education system is rather lacking. A mole tells me the embassy there, and several around the world, can't tell the difference between the most disreputable language school and an established FE college. Some applicants for visas have been turned down on the basis that the institution is not bona-fide - despite being an FE college.

How could this be?

One FE college found itself being told to prove its credentials in a letter from Mrs MJ Cusselle, of the Home Office's "integrated" casework directorate. Not so integrated, as it turns out.

The sternly-worded letter demanded 30 pieces of information, such as the date the college opened, within 28 days, even though a simple call to the LSC would have revealed all.

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