International students are having to pay extortionate fees to apply for UK status due to “woeful inadequacies” with the newly outsourced visa system, which campaigners have warned risk deterring foreign students from enrolling at British universities. The Independent reports.
Universities UK, which represents 136 universities across the country, warned that the service being offered by Sopra Steria, the private firm that took over the Home Office’s visa processing system last November, was “unacceptable”.
Students said they had been unable to book appointments due to a lack of availability and had faced difficulties navigating Sopra Steria’s website, with some resorting to paying hundreds of pounds to fast track their appointments in order to have their visas in time.
Alistair Jarvis, chief executive of Universities UK, said “Students and universities cannot be expected to pay to address Sopra Steria’s broken system.”
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