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The Home Office has issued a warning to universities following a noticeable increase in foreign students seeking asylum within months of their arrival in the UK.

According to government documents, 3,000 students submitted asylum claims within the first year of their stay in the UK between October 1, 2021, and September 30, 2022, with around 1,600 of them coming from Bangladesh. Immigration officials became increasingly alarmed and, as a result, instructed some universities to halt course offers to individuals from Bangladesh until comprehensive background checks were conducted. Many of these claims were linked to the use of forged identity documents.

Furthermore, there was a 100% surge in university applications from Ghana, with authorities cautioning that a quarter of these applications involved fraudulent documentation.

This development has led to comparisons with the issue of small boats crossing the English Channel, as Professor Alan Smithers of the Centre for Education and Employment Research at the University of Buckingham pointed out. He highlighted that individuals are exploiting student visas as a means of gaining illicit entry into the UK, similar to those crossing the Channel on small boats.

The data also revealed that most asylum claims from Bangladeshis were filed by men aged between 21 and 30. A significant number of them had received university offers for courses with 'business' or 'international' in the title.

The Home Office emphasized that all asylum claims are carefully reviewed in accordance with established policies. Photo by Steve Cadman, Wikimedia commons.