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University of Bristol

Easy-to-use solution enables compliance with
UK Border Agency requirements

Industries:

  • Education
  • Government

Offering Groups:

  • Scanners

Solution Areas:

  • Imaging Solutions

Regions:

  • United Kingdom
  • Europe

Challenges:

  • Legal requirement to capture, store and enable efficient retrieval of the passport and visa details of foreign students
  • Cut administration time and reduce manual errors
  • Data for 1,800 foreign students need capturing during two weeks at the start of academic year

Benefits:

  • Fujitsu fi-6230 and fi-60F scanners scan students’ passports in batches, speeding up the process
  • Kofax Express software with Virtual ReScan automatically enhances the quality of the scanned images to improve readability
  • Rapid data capture and retrieval with Scan-to-SharePoint
  • Continued support of the registration process as the foreign student population grows
University of Bristol

To comply with new legislation, the University of Bristol needed to store passport and visa details for foreign students. With help from Fujitsu partner Open Connections, this leading University has implemented an easy-to-operate data capture and management solution based on Fujitsu scanners and Kofax Express software. As a result, it is now able to fulfil its statutory obligations in an efficient manner, processing information quickly and accurately.

The challenge

Founded in 1876, the University of Bristol has identified that establishing itself as an internationally renowned University is critical to its future strategy. With foreign citizens accounting for approximately 10% of its 20,000 students, the University is a thriving multi-cultural community dedicated to learning, discovery and enterprise.

These rights of access to previously unpublished information has imposed new legal obligations on any organisation carrying out a public function, including government departments and local authorities. They must be equipped to respond promptly and fully to FOI requests and must follow strict guidelines when doing so.

fi-60F compact scannerThe ultra-compact fi-60F has been especially developed for easy and quick scanning of single documents. With interference-free convenience the fi -60F redefines small document scanning.


New legislation

Each year the UK Border Agency authorises certain education establishments across the UK to accept foreign students. However, to fulfil recently-introduced legal requirements, these education establishments must capture key information on their arrival, such as passport and visa details, as well as other documentation supporting their attendance. Each establishment must then make this information available to the Agency as and when required.

In practice, this presents the University of Bristol with a considerable logistical challenge. “The data capture process is not spread out over the academic year,” explains Luke Taylor, Assistant Director of IT at the University. “Instead, the administrators in our International Office must process all the information for 1,800 foreign students in just a couple of weeks at the start of each academic year.”

However, despite the limited time available, it is critical that data is captured and stored effectively. “The consequences of not delivering information requested by the UK Border Agency could in the worst case scenario include the suspension of our licence to take foreign students,” remarks Mr Taylor. “Clearly, failure is not an option.”

Easy-to-use solution

The University selected the Bristol-based Fujitsu partner Open Connections to help it implement a solution that would capture and store the information required. Their document management specialist recommended a data capture and storage solution based on Fujitsu scanning technology and Kofax Express software.

Now, using Fujitsu fi-6230 and fi-60F scanners, administrators at the University’s International Office can scan students’ passports in batches, speeding up the process. The Kofax Express software, with its Virtual ReScan (VRS) feature, automatically enhances the quality of the scanned images to improve readability before sending them to a SharePoint storage facility. In addition, key data such as the student’s name and passport number is automatically populated in the University’s student records database.

“As well as being easy to implement, the solution is easy to use and staff require very little training,” highlights Mr Taylor. “The whole process is very straightforward from the users’ point of view.”

Excellent image quality

For Open Connections, there was no hesitation in recommending Fujitsu scanners for the project. “The quality of images produced by the Fujitsu scanners is excellent and, with a wide range of paper types and qualities from many different countries and some wording not being as clear and crisp as it might be, this was key requirement,” comments Martin Allan, Account Manager at Open Connections. “In addition, the Fujitsu scanners work very well with Kofax Express software,” he continues. “This was critical for the project because we wanted to use this software to manage the information capture and storage process.”

Easy integration

The University installed three fi-60F A6-sized scanners for capturing colour passport images. To use these, the staff simply place the passport or other small-sized documentation on the flatbed and a scan is taken in less than a second. In addition, the University invested in a fi-6230 scanner. This has automatic document feed capability for paperwork up to A4 size, as well as a flatbed facility. The fi-6230 can scan up to 80 duplex images per minute in colour or black and white.

“The fact that Open Connections could offer scanners from the Fujitsu range, Kofax Express Capture software, and services to integrate with the University’s SharePoint document management system was an important consideration,” says Allan.

“Purchasing from a single local supplier of the scanning solution was clearly more convenient than dealing with numerous different vendors. We are very pleased with the services that Open Connections have provided and they will be our obvious choice for any future enhancements,” adds Mr Taylor.

Rapid data capture and retrieval

According to Mr Taylor, the solution is dramatically reducing the amount of time taken to process details for each student, as well as improving the accuracy of the data capture process.

“Reliable, high-quality images make it possible for the efficient population of fields in our database to take place,” he comments. “This saves time and can significantly reduce manual entry errors – especially with foreign names that may be unfamiliar to English-speaking staff,” comments Taylor.

International centre of learning

As well as helping staff at the University to capture information in a time-efficient way, the solution is also ensuring that the University can retrieve information quickly when required in response to a request from the UK Border Agency. And as under-graduate and post-graduate numbers increase, the solution has the capacity to manage the registration of a growing population of foreign students.

”We are confident that we can fulfil our legal obligations for capturing and storing passport and visa information in the years to come,” concludes Mr Taylor. “Ultimately, the Fujitsu-based solution is ensuring that we retain our licence to accept foreign students and continue in our strategy to be a truly international centre of learning.”

For more information:

  • Scanners: Workgroup & Departmental Scanners
  • High Speed A6 Format Scanner: fi-60F