Thousands of young Indians, mainly from Punjab, are entering Britain on falsely obtained student visas, a media report claimed on Sunday.

Undercover reporters found foreign agents offering would-be students £10,500 loans so they can convince the U.K. Border Agency in their visa applications that they have enough money in their bank account to pay fees and support themselves in Britain. The money is handed back to the lender as soon as it has appeared on bank statements for a month, said the Sunday Times report.

The cost to the student is a 7 per cent interest charge and £200 processing fee, which amounts to about £935. In a covertly filmed investigation, the newspaper claimed it has established that the scam is operating widely in towns in Punjab.

It threatened to undermine new Home Office immigration rules which Ministers insisted would reduce the number of new arrivals.

Instead, the number of visas granted to Indian students has nearly doubled in the past year, from 29,000 to 52,000.

According to the report, many have no intention of studying and simply disappear after entering the U.K.

Students need 40 points to come to Britain. They receive 30 for holding a course offer from a college or university and 10 for proving that they can pay fees and support themselves.

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