STUDENTS ≠ SUSPECTS //
UNIVERSITIES ≠ BORDER AGENTS
We stand united in opposition to the new points-based immigration rules. They frame students as suspects and turn staff into border agents. The Home Office and the Border Agency are outsourcing border policing to universities. We oppose the way these laws force distrust and suspicion upon our environments and we are concerned about the long-term impact of these new regulations on academic freedom, democracy and the right to privacy. We are calling for these new rules to be scrapped. Read on to find out how you can join the campaign and take action.
NEW POINTS BASEDIntroduced across UK universities on 31 March 2009, the new system imposes a series of onerous requirements for non-EU students and academics coming to study or teach in the UK.
NEW REQUIREMENTS INCLUDE:• Increased visa application fees
• Requirement for increased funds (Over £18,000 for a year’s study)
• Higher education institutions must take on Monitoring duties
including monitoring foreign student and staff attendance
• A licensing system for all institutions with international students, leading to the vetting of educational institutions by the UK Border Agency
HUMAN EFFECTSIncreased bureaucracy leads to increased errors and many students suffer as a result. There has already been an increase in late arrivals and no-shows of international students for the academic year 2009-10. there is a limited appeals system, so some students have lost thousands of pounds in advance fees, plus visa application fees.
• 100% increase in visa refusals during April-May 2009
• 35% of visa applications from China, 49% of applications from India, and 21% from the USA were rejected
• 14,000 would-be students were stuck in Pakistan when term started in October 2009
• students were rejected by the UKBA for a variety of trivial reasons, including having written ‘Malaysian’ instead of ‘Malaysia’ under country
• At the end of January 2010, the UKBA completely suspended student visa applications from northern India, Nepal and Bangladesh
• Additional layers of bureaucracy and surveillance make it much harder for international students to apply and study in the UK
• Administrative errors are common and ongoing - students have already had their studies and other work interrupted because of ‘mistakes’
• we will see a narrowing of the range of backgrounds and experiences of students coming to the UK and as a result of increased financial burden, the breadth of dialogue in our classrooms will be limited
• New international students staff, and their children, must submit biometric information and carry ID cards
• Unnecessary restrictions on international artists and academics visiting the UK for talks, temporary exhibitions, concerts or artists’ residencies
• New rules are being used to make non-EU staff redundant or to intimidate them into accepting worse conditions
*Some international academics are now unable to attend the UK to teach their regular courses or seminars, including one Israeli visiting lecturer at Exeter. Universities, including the Glasgow School of Art and Nottingham Trent, report difficulties putting together international lecture series. Some international academics now choose not to visit the UK, in response to what they see as insulting procedures. Universities, including Imperial College report large expenditures of staff time and resources on securing visas for their international academics. Staff must check international student attendance. If a student fails to attend 10 expected 'interactions’, staff are obliged to report them to the UKBA. This can lead to deportation in extreme cases. When a student does not enrol on the course at the expected time, the reason for this must be given within 10 working days. If this does not occur, the incident must be reported to the UKBA. Academics must inform the UKBA if they have any suspicions that a student is engaging in 'suspicious behaviour’. What would this mean for Iranian or Pakistani students studying in the sciences?
*Briefing content drawn from ‘Fortress Academy’, a report compiled by V. Hartwich of the Manifesto Club.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO OPPOSE THE NEW RULES:Disrupt attempts to maintain attendance records. Refuse to accept a register at all and encourage your tutors, seminar leaders and lecturers to join the campaign too. Sign the Students Not Suspects declaration and use your National Student Survey voice to express your views about the PBSI. No positive feedback whilst Goldsmiths remain complicit with these rules!Talk to friends and colleagues in other universities, spreading the campaign to the rest of the country. Get to know one another! One of the effects of such draconian immigration rules is to further separate Home, EU and International Students from one another.