A very high number of students returned home after staying in the UK on this visa category, claims the association, based on members reporting that 93 per cent reapplied from their home countries for another visa category following issuance of an ESVV.
The ESVV was introduced for students who wished to study English and then return home, without working or progressing in-country, but who needed to study for more than 6 months to reach a required level; usually the level needed to then reapply for university study in the UK.
It was introduced as a ministerial concession in January 2011 and is currently under review by the UK Border Agency.
English UK is urging the UK government to continue the visa category. Millns says that not only should it be continued but “it should be made rather more permanent by being written into the Immigration Rules”.
“Around 85% of students reached level B1 in English by the end of their course, suggesting that this visa is doing what was expected in its conception,” said Tony Millns, Chief Executive of English UK in a letter that it has sent to Immigration Minister, Damian Green.
He said the refusal rate among members for student applicants requiring ESVV visas has been just under eight per cent. “Given that the threshold refusal rate for retaining Highly Trusted Sponsor status is 20%, this is a creditable performance,” Millns added.
He made some suggestions to improving compliance further, such as using data from e-Borders to give early warnings of any centres where students were over-staying.
English UK represents 450 English language teaching institutions, all of which have undergone the Accreditation UK inspection scheme.