London: A total of about 63,000 fake students entered Britain in 2011, and 59 per cent of the total number of Indian students were bogus, a report by a British campaign group said on Wednesday.

The study by Migration Watch UK, based on the findings of a Home Office pilot scheme, said the highest percentage of bogus students came from Myanmar at 62 percent.

It was followed by India, Bangladesh and Nigeria with 59 per cent, a press statement said.

Under the pilot scheme, applicants for student visas were interviewed to determine whether they were genuine. This involved two tests — whether they were genuine as students and whether they intended to return home after their studies.

Of the total 63,000 students who could be potentially refused visa on credibility grounds, 61 per cent were applying for privately funded colleges, 17 per cent for a publicly funded college and 14 per cent for a university.

The Home Office now plans to interview 10,000 students a year.

Andrew Green, chairman of Migration Watch, said: “We now have clear evidence of abuse on a major scale. Bogus students come here to work illegally and thus take jobs from British workers.”

“If it is clear from the circumstances that a student is unlikely to go home, the visa should not be granted in the first place. After all, many of the advantages claimed for foreign students depend on their going home after their studies,” he said.

Referring to a letter to the Sunday Times daily, signed by 37 business leaders, calling for students to be taken out of net migration, Green said that it was impossible because, unlike the US and Australia, Britain has no exit checks.

“So nobody knows how many who came as students have actually left Britain.”