Following the UK government’s introduction of the controversial immigration bill, it seems that the government has caused an outcry amongst international students. Changes made in relation to overseas students include giving students and their dependants no right to appeal against the refusal of leave to remain, removal decisions or the revocation or curtailment of their leave. Instead, the current right of appeal to an immigration tribunal will be replaced by administrative review in line with entry clearance refusals.
NUS Speaks Out Against UK Immigration Bill
Proposals uncovered in the Immigration Bill on 10 October 2013 have attracted quite a response from the National Union of Students (NUS). The new bill has suggested that the immigration status of potential tenants and temporary migrants, including international students, will need to be checked by landlords and a charge to access NHS services will be compulsory.
However, Daniel Stevens, international student’s officers at the National Union of Students has deemed the plan as “unworkable, expensive and discriminatory”. Mr Stevens also said:
“The bill will affect international students more than any other group as they already make up 75 per cent of those subject to visa controls.”
He continued “of those subject to visa controls, international students are already the most heavily regulated and monitored, and yet they put the most into the UK economy for the duration of their stay.”
The NUS states, making visa checks on international students by private landlords a requirement will result in racial profiling. Gathering and assessing the right documents will constrict students as tenancy agreements are made in a matter of hours. This could also lead to international students to turn to landlords who do not adhere to the law, putting themselves in danger if the landlords do not do the required checks.
Theresa May: International Students Required to Pay NHS
Home Secretary Theresa May said in Parliament, “temporary migrants seeking to stay in the UK for more than 6 months will have to pay an immigration health surcharge, on top of their visa fee.”
It should be noted that international students pay higher tuition fees then British students and continual barriers put in front of them could lead to them to feel unwelcome and choose to study in other countries.
Daniel Stevens said:
“International students will choose other countries who do not impose these restrictions over the UK. The immigration bill seeks to drive more international students to other countries, to the detriment of UK education.”
The department of Business, Innovation and Skills stated that international students contribute £7.9 billion to the UK economy. Mr Stevens continued, “52% of recently surveyed international students already feel unwelcome to the UK because of government policy. These changes are likely to cause a further negative perception of the UK as a place of study.”
The UK council for International Student Affairs have criticized the proposals as “disproportionate” and “unjust”, suggesting it may cause homelessness for international students.
UK Universities Acting as ‘Border Guards’
It seems that over 250 students have signed a petition to force ministers to stop using universities to act as “border guards”. Those who have signed the letter put forward the argument: “As academics, we have a duty of care towards all our students and such policies undermine that relationship.”
They continued “this damages the international reputation of UK higher education institutions, we are educators, not border guards.”
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