Last this week the Home Office announced a further series of changes to visa regulations for international students in further and higher education.
The changes include:
1 - Removing work rights from new students at publicly funded colleges (from 3rd August).
2 - Preventing college students from being able to switch into employment from within the UK (from 12 November).
3- Prevent Tier 4 dependents from taking employment unless it is skilled from 12 November onwards.
4 - Reducing the time limit for study at further education level (i.e. leading to a NQF level 3, 4 or 5 qualification) from 3 years to 2 years.
5 - Uprate Tier 4 maintenance requirements in line with inflation.
We in the Student Assembly Against Austerity (SAAA) condemn these latest set of attacks on the rights of international students launched by Sajid Javid and the Home Office.
Based on a study by IPS, 70% of International Students came from NON-EU countries. However, since 2010 the proportion has changed and the 70% of 2013 is lower now.
The government claims to wants to “maintain an excellent offer for students who wish to study at our world-class universities”, but NUS research has shown that the opportunities for work-based learning and post-study employment are a large reason for why the UK has been an attractive place to study. Work-placements are increasingly common compulsory aspects of higher and further education courses, and developing practical work experience is often vital for students’ skills development. Changes to the upfront cost of visa extensions will mean costs for those taking re-sits, medical students and sabbatical officers in our students unions will be over £7000 more after 12 November.
International students are a great asset to the student movement, our local communities and the UK as a whole.
We believe that these horrendous attacks on international students and migrants damage the reputation of the UK globally, as well.
We are keen to work with the NUS International Students’ Officer, Mostafa Rajaai, and other pro-migrant/pro-international student organisations to stand against these attacks.