India will take up with the UK any case of students not getting their entitled fee refund on courses they could not pursue because of Britain’s decision to temporarily suspend student visas from three centres.

Replying to supplementaries during Question Hour in Rajya Sabha, External Affairs Minister S. M. Krishna said Britain had temporarily stopped accepting student visa applications at three Visa Applications Centres in New Delhi, Jallandhar and Chandigarh.

This followed a sudden over six-fold spurt in student visa applications from these three centres to 13,500 during October - December 2009 against only 1,800 application during the same period in 2008.

“As a result of abnormal rise in applications, they (UK) thought it is necessary for them to take a second look at the process of issuing visas for various courses,” he said.

Mr. Krishna said India will take up with UK any hardship faced by students. “We will continue to pursue (with UK) to see justice is done,” he said.

“We have taken it up with the Government of UK (and) drawn their attention,” he said. “We are in touch with Government of UK. By and large UK has been very fair,” he said adding education was one of the strong pillars of bilateral relations between India and UK.

Mr. Krishna said the British authorities had on February 13 announced that the three visa centres in north India will start accepting from March 1 visa applications from students wanting to pursue higher education.

“The temporary suspension, however, remains in place for those wanting to study at lower levels,” he said.

While the three centres in north India would continue to receive applications for visa in other categories, application centres in west and south India would remain open for all visa categories including student visas.

“Applicants for student visas from north India could apply at visa centres in west and south India,” he said.

The Minister said no case of Indians studying at unauthorised education institutions in UK had come to notice. “However, UK authorities have informed that recently a number of UK education providers have been suspended from the education sponsors’ register,” he said.