British Consulate, Hong Kong Island. Photo: Google Maps

The Hong Kong government set up a hotline on Tuesday to assist local students who are waiting for their UK student visa, as the British Consulate also pledged to speed up the processing of visas.

Hundreds of students from Hong Kong might miss some classes or even lose placement in their schools in the UK because of unexpected delays in visa processing at the consulate, but the cause of the delays remains unknown.

Students who are awaiting their visa can register their cases through a 24-hour hotline – 3142-2522 – or send e-mail to ukstudentvisa@1823.gov.hk, according to a Hong Kong government statement.

Both measures commenced operation at 3pm on Tuesday.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said before her weekly cabinet meeting that she had met with British Consul Andrew Heyn personally on Monday evening, Radio Television Hong Kong reported.

Heyn said that if any students miss the deadline for registration for their British universities, or if their attendance is affected by visa delays, he was willing to write to their institutions to explain the situation, according to Lam.

Ip Kin-yuen, legislative councilor for the education sector, said he had received around 800 complaints from affected students, and only 25 urgent cases had been solved.

One student said she had submitted an application for a priority visa, which usually take three to five days to process, on August 25. However, she was yet to receive the visa and her passport was being held by the British Consulate.

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