The Home Office has refused to say whether the government has plans to follow in the footsteps of the US Department of Justice and implement an internet-based system for tracking foreign students.
The Student Exchange and Visitor Information System (Sevis), which will keep tabs on more than one million foreign students in the US, was announced last week in the wake of 11 September and fears about terrorists posing as students.
Attorney General John Ashcroft said that Sevis "will bring our student visa system into the 21st century" and replaces a "slow, antiquated, paper-driven reporting system incapable of ensuring that those who enter the US as students are in fact attending our educational institutions".
Meanwhile the Home Office refused to elaborate on any plans for a similar system in the UK. "We can't comment on intelligence activity," said a Home Office spokeswoman.
The UK currently relies on a paper-based system. A spokesman for the Department for Education and Skills said: "Students seeking to remain in the UK have to produce evidence that they have been accepted on a full-time bona fide course."
They must satisfy all requirements "before a Visa or leave to enter is granted", he added.
The US system links 74,000 educational institutions to the Immigration and Naturalisation Service, giving the agency and the Justice Department instant, detailed information about individual students via the internet.
US schools must convert to Sevis by 30 January.
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