Compliance update
30 August 2018

Fraud alert – bogus overseas officers

We have recently been alerted to a fraud risk by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB).

The scam involves international students being contacted by people claiming to represent UK or foreign law enforcement. Victims are then told that they are implicated in crimes such as money laundering or immigration offences. The fraudsters subsequently demand a payment in order to prevent their arrest.

We advise that you inform your students by any channels you feel are appropriate.

UKVI advice for Tier 4 visa applicants

As a partner of UKVI, English UK has been asked to help reduce the number of invalid applications. UKVI have produced a pack which contains key messaging, assets and links that you can use when contacting students.

While more relevant to Tier 4 students, some members may find this UKVI presentation useful. It contains some facts and figures as well as some forthcoming changes to fees.

EU Package Travel Directive 2018

New regulations of the EU Package Travel Directive came into force on 1 July 2018.

English UK has sought advice from TravLaw LLP on whether typical programmes sold by language centres constitute a package or linked arrangement.

Their advice is that it is unlikely that language centres are offering or organising a package for the following reasons:

  • Transport: airport transfers are likely to be a 'minor' part of the student's overall travel and therefore do not constitute a package element.  However, distances are a factor in determining the definition of a 'minor' journey. Member centres may want to seek independent advice on this.
  • Accommodation: homestay or residence-based accommodation is likely to be a necessary enabling element of an educational programme and would not therefore be seen as holiday accommodation. It is therefore unlikely that it would form an element of a package
  • Other tourist services: some types of leisure activity if booked at the same time as booking a course programme or within 24 hours, may constitute a package if they account for more than 25% of the cost of the overall programme and/or are an essential feature of it.

Whilst it is unlikely that member centres' programmes constitute a package, a programme that a student purchases via an Educational Travel Operator (ETO) may constitute a package or a linked travel arrangement where the ETO charges for flights, transfers, course programme, accommodation and leisure activities.

It is likely in this scenario that ETOs are the organiser of the package and therefore become will have to comply with the requirements of the directive. ETOs are advised to take specialist advice in this area in determining the level of protection they need to offer to their customers.

If member centres have any further questions, please email Naadiya Rawat.

Members of the TravLaw team will be in the Advice Zone StudyWorld on Tuesday 4 - Wednesday 5 September to answer your questions.

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