Private schools are making hundreds of thousands of pounds from Vietnamese children who are entering Britain on student visas then disappearing, it has been revealed.
Children thought to be as young as 15 are being brought to the UK by suspected trafficking gangs through legitimate visas sponsored by private schools, an investigation by The Times found.
Despite the students paying for a term at school they then often going missing within weeks of starting at the school.
The investigation carried out by the paper uncovered at least 21 Vietnamese children who have vanished from boarding schools and private colleges across Britain in the past four years.
The investigation was carried out without the schools knowledge.
They are mostly girls with what is known as the private school visa. Police and the Home Office are investigating the disappearances, but many of the youngsters remain unaccounted for.
Eight Vietnamese children have gone missing from the £25,000-a-year Chelsea Independent College, a west London school owned by Astrum Education, a for profit body.
According to a former member of staff, one girl ran away at night through a fire escape, causing a panic among staff.
At Abbey College, Malvern, Worcestershire, which says that it has educated the children and grandchildren of kings, heads of state and other preeminent global figures, a 15-year-old girl from Vietnam who started at the school in September 2017 failed to return after Christmas.
All the schools and colleges identified followed protocol and reported the disappearances to police and the Home Office. All the children arrived in Britain on Tier 4 child visas, which are sponsored by schools and do not require an English language test.
A former teacher said: At holidays they wouldn’t come back there would be no answer on the phone. It was a loophole someone realised this was a way of getting Vietnamese girls into the system.