Risk-based interviews of up to one in 20 potential international students will be brought in over the next year following a successful pilot scheme, the Home Office said.
UK Border Agency (UKBA) staff will also be given a new power to refuse entry to any applicant whose credibility they doubt, with applicants from India, Bangladesh and Burma expected to be most affected.
The three-month pilot scheme found 32 per cent of almost 2,000 students from outside the EU who were interviewed and granted a UK visa would have been denied one if UKBA officials had the power to refuse visas, because they suspected the applicant was not a genuine student, the Home Office said.
Almost half (45 per cent) of applicants from Burma would have been refused under the credibility test, along with almost two-fifths (38 per cent) from Bangladesh and almost a third (29 per cent) from India, the pilot scheme which ran from December last year to February found.
Between 10,000 and 14,000 student visa applicants – around 5 per cent of the total – are expected to be interviewed over the next year.
Immigration minister Damian Green said: “With more interviews and greater powers to refuse bogus students we will weed out abuse and protect the UK from those looking to play the system.”