Student rip-offs

The UK Border Agency’s policy of ripping off foreign student continues – not withstanding the crazy application system (I had to fill some 16 pages last time I applied for extension), now they have increased the fees further – changes highlighted below in bold. Below is part of the email I received from the university’s immigration advisory services today!

As you may be aware, the UK Government is in the process of introducing a
Points Based Immigration System (PBS).

From the end of March 2009, the student visa will become part of PBS and
will be known as a Tier 4 General Student visa. PBS requires all applicants
to score 40 points and this is achieved by providing the following
information when you apply to extend your student visa:

• 30 points for a visa letter from a licensed sponsor*; and
• 10 points if you can show you have enough money (known as maintenance)to
cover your course fees and monthly living expenses (which are set by the
UKBA) for up to 12 months

* Your place of study will be the sponsor (not financially though, unless they give you scholarships too!).

The UK Border Agency (UKBA) and the UK Council for International student
Affairs (UKCISA) have produced guidance and this can be accessed via the
following links:

Please note that the UKBA has not formally announced the specific date in
March when these changes will come into effect but you are advised that it
is likely that it will be at very short notice.

Further information will be posted on the Immigration Advice Service website
and/or emailed to international students at their University email address
but please be aware that the changes will result in the introduction of an
amended FLR(S) application form for those renewing their visas in the UK and
a new VAF 3 form for those applying outside the UK.

UKBA has announced that it intends to increase the fees it charges for its
immigration services. It is not known when these fees will be introduced
but it is possible that it will be as the changes to the immigration system
for students are introduced around the end of March. Therefore, if your
visa is due to expire in the next few months and you will be a continuing
student at University of York, you may wish to consider making an early
application to avoid the rise in fees.

Set out below are details of visa types, the current fee and the proposed
increased fee:

TIER 1 (Post Study Work)

Applying from outside the UK the current fee is £205; the new fee will be

Applying from inside the UK by post, the current fee is £400; the new fee
will be £500*

Applying from inside the UK in person, the current fee is £600; the new fee
will be £700*


Applications made overseas for a student visa currently attract a fee of
£99; the new fee will be £145.


The current fee for postal applications is £295; the new fee will be £357*

The current fee for an application made in person is £500; the new fee will
be £565*

* Each dependant applying at the same time as the main applicant will have
to pay £50.


UKBA has announced that it is expanding the immigration categories which
will now require an ID card. These new categories will include Academic
Visitors who are granted leave for longer than 6 months and those who apply
to transfer their visas from an old or lost passport to a new one.

The ID card will replace the visa sticker that used to be placed in an
applicant’s passport and therefore once issued, the holder will need to
travel with both his/her passport and ID card whenever he/she enters or
leaves the UK. These changes will come into effect from 31 March 2009.

light snow shower = ?

What do you call the drizzle equivalent of snow? The weather-person tells us to expect ‘light snow showers’ and thats what we are getting in York now, but I want to find a one-word name for this event, as its called ‘drizzle’ for rain! I think I’m now obsessed with saying more using less words – have been going nuts trying to reduce a 10,000-words paper into a 7000-words one and still say the same thing – i.e., without losing any meaning or the content from the original paper, and I can tell you its worse than writing the original paper from scratch! It really is. Anyway, I am now down to 7400 so 400 more to cut off. Okay, here is the ‘light snow shower’ picture taken this morning. I’m back to work now!

snow in York, 12 Feb 2009

मोटाएको = Healthy

1. “You’re looking healthy” he says. I respond “its Africa”, meaning its all to do with spending half the year in nice warm climate and in a lot relaxed atmosphere. But then I’m thinking “I must have looked FAT” for him to comment that I’m looking “healthy” – quintessentially belayeti comment I would say, polite and diplomatic. I must start going for a run every morning and/or evening now. I wouldn’t want to be commented upon with statements like “you look well-fed”!

2. Oh, and I’ve finally found a place I liked and the person already living there liked me too it seems, for I’ve moved in to my new abode last night and the unpacking has begun. Was thinking of taking some pictures of my messy room to put up here but totally forgot in a rush to get to office before lunch (will try and do that tonight, if i don’t forget again that is!), to prepare for the meeting that I have in 50 minutes time, but I couldn’t help post this “update” in here as I haven’t posted anything new for ages, and I’m tired of blog-hopping, while wishing I could also blog as regularly as some of the blogs that I frequent!

3. Now I must get back and prepare for my meeting. Will try to post a bit thoughtful entries once I fully settle in to my new place – the one that is sure to provide environment to think with its home-made wine, and fresh produce from the allotments (and yea I’ve promised to get my hands dirty as well – haven’t worked on gardens for ages, it should be fun!).

4. Now a picture from Africa (couldn’t help posting one!) :)
Accra at night

weird habits

…that I have picked up living in England.

1. Never going to bed before Sailing By (and falling asleep while listening to the Shipping forecast!)
I don’t exactly remember when I started listening to Sailing By, but I suspect it must have been from very early days of my life in York (probably while staying late at night trying to complete essays during the first term!). It didn’t take long after I arrived in the UK to become a fan of BBC Radio 4, and my alarm-clock-radio was set to start with Radio 4 at 5:59 in the morning. I lay on bed till the end of the Today programme, and rushed through my morning routine in the next 10 minutes before arriving for class at 9:15! Like most undergraduates, I had a great morning when there was no 9:15 lecture. Of course sometimes lectures started at 8:15, so I would miss the last one hour of the programme on those days. Its not surprising then that Saturday mornings were my favourite, when I stayed in bed till 10 – till 9:00 listening to Today programme, and then listening to John Peel (one of my most favourite presenters)’s Home Truths programme. In the evenings, Radio 4 would be on as soon as I got back to my room – usually to catch 6:00pm news and the comedy or other light-hearted programmes that followed (Just a Minute, Dead Ringers and the like). World Tonight (10:00pm news programme) was another rarely-missed programmes and Book at Bedtime that followed meant that I got to know about books that I had never read, and quite a few I later had to buy because I missed a day’s reading or that I wanted to read myself in full. Well, seeing this list you’re probably wondering why not have BBC Radio 4 on the title and not Sailing By, but even when I didn’t listen to any of the other programmes on some days (because I was out with my friends or somewhere else), I usually got back home in time to catch Sailing By and go to bed :) Don’t ask me why I listened to Shipping forecast after that though (as I said I usually fell asleep while the forecast was being read) – but I probably learnt a lot about British geography from the forecast too – weird names of places like the Land’s End, Lundy, Fastnet etc., which I would check on the map the next day when I remembered what I had heard the night before.

I must say I missed this (Sailing By) routine when I went to Canada (although in Canada I would go to bed after listening to the Today programme in full on the internet – good thing about being 8 hours behind the British time!). When I got back to York again, my other Radio 4 habits didn’t stay the same (well, sadly John Peel had passed away, and I also couldn’t devote the same amount of time listening to live radio – but having podcasts for most programmes have solved the problem as well!), except one – listening to Sailing By before going to bed! :)
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