The Home Office have published the results of a survey on the Points Based System (full report, summary, both as pdfs). It makes interesting reading. Well, I say “interesting”, I actually mean “terribly dull unless you are freakishly interested in such things”. Like me.
The report does not address Tier 4, only Tiers 1, 2 and 5.
The results are very positive in terms of perception of the PBS by applicants and sponsors:
Most also felt that the system is meeting its objectives of being easy to understand, open/transparent, use friendly, efficient and fair. There was no agreement that the system is any faster than the old one, however.
There were also difference between attitudes of those who made in-country and out-of-country applications, with out-of-country users feeling significantly less satisfied (but still positive about the system nevertheless).
My own experience of the Points Based System through appeals and judicial review applications has been that it can be incredibly unfair and arbitrary. Those who are satisfied with the system are unlikely to need the services of an immigration barrister, though. It is the dissatisfied who do.
The perception of UKBA staff is a different matter:
The report goes on:
Just over half of the staff (53%) who responded to the survey felt that the UK border was less secure since the introduction of the PBS, with Border Force colleagues significantly more likely to perceive it as less secure than other staff.
This offers some confirmation about the earlier ‘box ticking’ criticisms of the PBS in the press. The survey also found that there were indications that UKBA staff needed more training on the PBS.