Anthea Lipsett reports on the Guardian about the burden on the UK universities of the new points-based student visa system which will take effect on 1 April.

“The whole visa application process is stressful, I must say,” says Yinko Akinoso, a Nigerian master’s student at Birmingham University. He had to apply for an extension to his student visa in January. It took until last week to get the biometric identity card now required of all overseas students.

ID cards are one aspect of the new points-based immigration system that will come into effect for students from all over the world on 1 April. Universities have lobbied hard to make changes to help international students - and keep their institutions competitive in a tough recruitment market. But a lot of the detail as to how the system will work is still missing.

“The biometric identity card is a welcome development and it will show who’s who in the UK, whatever they’re doing, but the whole process of getting it was very stressful,” says Akinoso. “It took 10 minutes to give the biometric data, but months to arrange the appointment. I had to call a Home Office number and they never answered the phone, or would transfer me from one place to another. That was the most painful aspect. It took over 100 minutes - and you can imagine how much that is with a pay-as-you-go phone.”

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