The Home Office intends to interview most Tier 4 student applicants before granting them immigration permission to come to the UK. Therefore you might be sent an email asking you to attend an interview as part of the application process. You should check your email (including the 'junk' folder) regularly as your application is likely to be refused if you are asked to attend an interview and you do not do so without providing a reasonable explanation
Interviews take place when you attend a visa application centre to give your biometric information.
A Home Office member of staff will ask you about your course, where you want to study and your reasons for studying in the UK. Interviews are conducted in English and possibly via video link. The report of the interview will be sent to the Entry Clearance Officer who makes the decision on your Tier 4 application. The Entry Clearance Officer must be satisfied that you are a genuine student, and that your English language ability is at the correct level, otherwise you might be called for a further interview and/or your entry clearance application may be refused.
The Home Office advises that this interview process is designed to detect potential abuse of the visa system - not to be an obstacle for genuine students.
Typical questions may include:
Q: Why did you choose Birmingham City University (BCU)?
Answer preparation: Think about why you chose the UK rather than your home country, other English-speaking country or country which other students of your nationality choose to study in. You may find it useful to refer to the international pages of our website at http://www.bcu.ac.uk/international/why-study-here.
Q: Where will you live in the UK?
Answer preparation: Think about your living arrangements, will you be staying in university accommodation or private accommodation? Consider the distance between your accommodation and the campus that you will be studying at and how you will travel and how much it will cost.
Q: Why did you choose your course?
Answer preparation: There may be many courses in the same subject area as the one you plan to study at BCU. Consider what it is specifically about the BCU course you have chosen and why it suits you better than other course choices. Think about your decision process. Did you apply for other courses at other institutions - why did you choose BCU over them?
Q: How will the course be delivered and assessed?
Answer preparation: Think about the course content and the modules that you will study. Will you be assessed through examinations or coursework? You may find it useful to look through the course pages on the University’s website to find out how your course will be split between self-study, lectures, group work etc.
Q: How do your studies fit into your career plans?
Answer preparation: Think about what your plans are after you graduate - how will the knowledge and skills you gain from your course at BCU help you with the type of work you hope to do. Does your course lead to any professional exemptions or qualifications and are these recognised in your country? Do you know what others graduating from the course you will be following went on to do e.g. the types of roles and organisations they work for? If the course you plan to study is at a similar academic level to previous studies, how does it represent progression and does it have a vocational focus? If this is the case, be prepared to explain this.
Q: If the costs of pursuing your course of study are higher in the UK than in your home country, why have you decided to incur the extra costs involved with studying in the UK?
Answer preparation: Think about the advantages that a degree from the UK might give you and why you and/or your family are prepared to make this investment. Have you made a realistic assessment of all the costs involved and how you plan to pay for them. These costs include the course fees and living costs, including accommodation.
Q: You have previously studied in the UK - why have you chosen to return?
Answer preparation: Think about how the new course relates to your previous studies and how it might build on your previous learning. You can also talk about the benefits of your previous course.
Q: You have had a long break in your studies, why are you returning to study now?
Answer preparation: Think about how you explain your decision in the context of your long-term career plans.
Q: Do you plan to work in the UK?
Answer preparation: You cannot rely on funds from working to pay your course fees and living costs so you need to be aware of this. The main purpose for being in the UK is your studies so, if you do hope to work, think about how this would enhance your academic studies. You also need to demonstrate an understanding of the hours you are allowed to work and typical rates of pay.
Q: How will you fund your studies? (you should not be asked this unless you are called back for a second interview)
Answer preparation: The purpose of this question is to check that your funds are genuinely available to you for your studies. As part of your application you will have submitted proof of your finances - ensure that you are very clear about the source and availability of these funds, also how you plan to pay for subsequent years fees if your course is more than one year in duration. If you have official financial sponsorship make sure you are aware of the amounts and exactly what is covered. If you have a loan, how will you afford to pay this back? How much will your accommodation cost and are you clear about the cost of living in the UK?
The interviewer will also be checking your ability to speak and listen in English. Therefore, if there is any issue with hearing the interviewer clearly e.g. via the video link, you should ensure that you raise this so that they are aware that it is a technical issue.