The UK Border Agency has responded to allegations that the points-based system is failing to stop migrants from entering the UK illegally under the pretence of being students. BBC Radio 5 Live’s Donald MacIntyre programme interviewed one immigration officer at Heathrow Airport who said that immigration officers are overwhelmed by the volume of student arrivals. He also alleged that although many of these students are entirely legitimate, but he and his colleagues are almost powerless to challenge those whom they suspect are not.

Jeremy Oppenheim, head of the points-based system at the UK Border Agency, said:

‘The points-based system means that only those colleges and schools who provide quality education and take responsibility for their students will be licensed to bring in foreign students.

‘Schools and colleges are inspected by accreditation bodies and the UK Border Agency to ensure they are genuine. Before we tightened controls, around 4,000 UK institutions were bringing in international students; this currently stands at around 2,000.

‘Anyone coming into the UK must satisfy the Border Force officer that they meet the immigration rules and will comply with any conditions attached to their visa. If they cannot, the officer can and will refuse entry.’