Immigration Status of Migrant Students Affect their Education

Recently, it has been reported that a number of overseas students in the UK are unable to progress to further education as they are not eligible for student loans. The restrictions of getting a student loan is down to their immigration status. For instance, if you have Discretionary Leave to Remain or Limited Leave to Remain in the UK you are expected to pay the tuition fees of an international student. Overseas students who have obtained British Citizenship or Indefinite Leave to Remain will be able to get a student loan to cover the costs of their further education. 

Arguments Against Government’s Restrictions Heard in Supreme Court

Approximately, 500 to  2,400 migrants are affected by this restriction. These are students that have received their primary and secondary education in the UK but are not eligible for a student loan and therefore cannot afford to go University. The UK Government’s restrictions on migrants was challenged in the Supreme Court on Wednesday 24 June 2015, with a number of arguments in favour of those deemed not eligible.  The legal charity, Just for Kids Law, put forward the argument that a number of young people who approached them were completely unaware of their immigration status until they tried to apply for a loan:

“An increasing number of young people have contacted [us] having found that they are ineligible for student support. Many are deeply affected by it. Many have resided in the UK for more than half of their life and, as a consequence, have received all of their secondary and at least some primary education [here]. Many were not aware of their immigration status until they applied for student support. [They] would be the first in their family to attend university and face significant periods until they will be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK.”

A number of MPs also showed their support at the hearing, they all echoed each other’s sentiments. Young people, especially students, are the future of the success of the UK’s economy. Denying migrant students the chance to pursue further education when they have spent the majority of their lives in the country is damaging and will have adverse affects on the country. Not only are they being denied the chance to contribute to the UK but they are being denied the opportunity to progress with their lives.

Eligibility for Settlement in UK

After you have lived legally in the UK for a certain length of time, you may be able to apply for permission to settle in the UK. Settlement is also known as ‘Indefinite Leave to Remain’.  If you are currently in the UK, your right to apply for settlement will depend on your current immigration category whereas if you are applying to enter the UK as the child of a British citizen or a person who is settled here, you may obtain immediate permission to settle here permanently.

As mentioned above, if you have Discretionary Leave to Remain in the UK you are not eligible for a student loan. However, you may be eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain, which would make the process of getting a student loan a lot easier. You need to have lived in the UK for:

  • 6 years if you applied on or before 8 July 2012; or
  • 10 years if you applied from 9 July 2012.

The current UK Immigration Rules apply that migrant students who are not considered ‘settled’ in the UK, due their immigration status, will have to pay the same tuition fees as international students. International student’s tuition fees can be up to 4 times as much as UK and EU student’s tuition fees. For migrants who have spent most of their lives and education in the UK this seems extremely unfair and with the arguments heard in the Supreme Court last week, there is hope that the Government’s restrictions will be overturned. The Supreme Court Justices have yet to make a decision.

Contact us for a successful Settlement / Indefinite Leave to Remain application

Our team of experienced and professionally qualified solicitors and barristers will be able to guide you through the process step by step and limit the possibility of failure by complying with the strict letter of the law. Please always call us for a free telephone assessment and free case assessment even if you wish to consider other advisers.

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