The Home Affairs Committee published its report on the work of the Immigration Directorates (Q1 2016) on 27 July.
It makes observations and recommendations in a number of areas. Those of most relevance to international students and institutions are:
- EU - the Government should act quickly to remove uncertainty about the position of non-UK EU nationals living in the UK by setting a 'cut-off' date for establishing status. A separate unit to deal with immigration should be set up in the Home Office, as well as the existing Department for Exiting the EU.
- Immigration applications - although applications have gone down, delays in entering data onto the Home Office's computer system have increased. This lack of efficiency and ability to manage caseloads is of continuing concern to the Committee.
- Tier 4 sponsor reports - sponsors are required to notify the Home Office of too many circumstances that do not require follow-up action; it is described as a waste of sponsors' time and "We expect this situation to be addressed by 31 December 2016".
- English language testing - the inquiry should conclude in September 2016.
- Enforcement - although civil penalties are imposed on employers and transport providers, they are in many cases not enforced. The Committee plans to include operation of the right to rent scheme in England in its next report.
The Committee's inquiry into English language testing continues. Oral evidence was provided on 20 July by two students who had been accused of deception and by the managing director of Blake Hall College, a Tier 4 sponsor that lost its licence as part of the Home Office's action against students who had sat ETS English language tests.