Chinese students applying for the Tier 4 visa to study in the UK can now opt to use a ‘super priority’ service in order to get it within 24 hours, said UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI).
UKVI is currently running a 10-week pilot scheme for its fast-track service at centers in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou.
From August 8 and October 14, which is peak season for visa applications, students over the age of 18 can upgrade to the ‘super priority’ service.
It’s going to cost you, though: those who wish to use the service have to pay an extra £750 (US$990), and that’s in addition to the standard £322 (US$426) fee.
— The PIE News (@ThePIENews) August 23, 2016
During peak season, UKVI reports receiving up to 800 Tier 4 visa applications daily, according to Shanghai Daily.
The office has up to 100 appointment slots available a day, but may increase the number, depending on the service’s popularity.
The service may even be made a permanent option if the pilot proves successful.
However, local agents working in student services say that the £750 price tag is too high for most students, reported The PIE News.
— Global BU (@GlobalBU) August 23, 2016
Yang Huan, vice-president of the Beijing Overseas Student Services Association, suggested that if the top-up fee were halved, there would probably be more students interested in it.
He added that while the service would be helpful when dealing with “emergency cases”, at its current cost, it “should not become a popular option”.
There is also the issue of the fact that UKVI does not guarantee a 24-hour turnaround for those who have paid for the service, stating: “All applications will be based on their individual merits in line with the UK’s immigration rules.”
Its guidance on the ‘super priority’ service claims: “Super priority visa service applications are processed with the highest priority. In the majority of cases, a decision will be made within 24 working-day hours of submitting the application at the visa application center.”
Currently, the fastest option available to Chinese Tier 4 applicants is the 3-5 day priority service.
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