Education International
Education International

UK: Government should stop playing politics with international students

published 14 September 2012 updated 18 September 2012

The University and College Union (UCU), one of EI’s national affiliates, is publicising a petition to support international students at the London Metropolitan University (LMU) who have been affected by the last month decision of the UK Border Agency (UKBA) to revoke the Tier 4 licence of the LMU.

UCU and TUC: UKBA deportations, no way

The Trade Union Congress (TUC) backs amnesty call for stranded LMU students and allowed over 2,000 overseas students to continue their studies. The UKBA’s decision has left international students facing deportation if they cannot find a new course at another university within the next 60 days.

“It is really encouraging that the trade union movement has so emphatically added its support to the growing call for an amnesty for students facing deportation at London Met,” said UCU General Secretary, Sally Hunt.

“The government was wrong to count overseas students as permanent migrants in immigration statistics,” she added “There is already huge damage being done to our international reputation and forcing thousands of fee-paying students out of the country will only exacerbate the problem.”

On the relationship between international student migration and stricter immigration control, both UCU and university vice-chancellors believe that the UK government should remove international students from its high-profile migration reduction target and a recent report in the House of Commons has backed this position.

The immigration minister, Damian Green has justified its decision on the grounds that the university administration has failed to put in place an effective procedure for checking the qualifications and monitoring the progress of its student.

The university has been prevented from recruiting international students for the next academic year.

Petition to support international students

The petition calls for justice for the students whose futures have been placed in jeopardy by the UKBA decision.  It urges the UKBA to agree to an immediate amnesty for the international students to allow them to continue their studies while the problems at London Met were addressed. It calls on the Government to support this demand for international students to be taken out of migration statistics.

EI: no discrimination of migrant students, teachers and other education employees

EI supports this online petition and urges UK national authorities to repeal this unacceptable decision and encourage members to sign this petition, which can be found here

“It is high time for education decision-makers, in the UK and globally, to understand and acknowledge that mobility equips individual student and teacher migrants with new skills, experience and expertise and promotes cultural and information exchange, innovation and the creation of vital international networks that improve the quality of education systems and stimulate economic development in both the sending and receiving countries.”

Edwards went on to say that EI strongly supports international, regional and national level initiatives that promote mobility of students and skilled education personnel and the cross border recognition of comparable qualifications.

He emphasised that EI encourages member organisations to make decisions which impede discrimination against their students based on their nationality or ethnicity, or the migratory condition and to organise migrant teachers and other education employees, recruit them and defend their human and trade union rights and to support them and their families to integrate successfully in the host country.

EI urges all members of UK affiliates to sign the national online petition “Stop playing politics with international students”, by clicking here

To read the UCU’s article about TUC backing amnesty call for stranded London Metropolitan University students, please click here