More Overseas Students To Be Told To Leave The Country

Foreign student? Considering a move to London? Looking forward to life in one of the world’s great cities, where you can meet people from all over the planet, visit our museums and galleries, eat in our restaurants, experience our nightlife?

Well we don’t want you. Go away.

That, at least, is the message our beloved government seems intent on sending. For the last couple of years, one of the Home Office’s key attempts to suck up to the Daily Mail policies has been to slash annual immigration rates – from hundreds of thousands, to a mere tens of thousands.

That, though, isn’t easy to do. A lot of the incomers are EU citizens, who have a legal right to be here. A lot of the rest aren’t easy to keep track of.

Our leaders, though, have found one group that is remarkably easy to keep track of, and thus to block: foreign students. We know who they are, we know where they live, and we know how to get rid of them. So, despite the facts that:

a) students aren’t immigrants in the traditional sense;

b) they spend an enormous amount of money in the local economy; and

c) education is one of our biggest export industries

…the government seems intent on bringing down the shutters.

In theory, the clampdown has been targeted at ‘bogus colleges’: places that don’t provide teaching at all, just give economic migrants a convenient cover for entering the country. In practice, though, seemingly everyone in the education world thinks it’s hitting genuine students too. Language colleges have been particularly badly hit.

The most recent casualty of this clampdown is the Point Blank Music School (whose alumni include Leona Lewis and Goldie, fact fans). Last night, the BBC reported that the UK Border Agency, which has responsibility for enforcing all this, has revoked the college’s licence to sponsor international students. There’ll now be the inevitable to-ing and fro-ing over how much the college itself is to blame – but the upshot is that it can no longer recruit internationally, and its current crop of overseas students will likely have until the end of April before they’re forced to leave the country.

And this isn’t the first time it’s happened – remember London Met?

It’d be unfair to blame all this on the entirely on the current government. The rather silly system, in which education institutions are forced to double as immigration authorities, was established by Labour. What’s more, several coalition ministers are known to have campaigned against this shameless and self-defeating attempt to suck up to the tabloids, not least on economic grounds.

But this policy is – there’s no other word for it – stupid. It sucks money out of the economy. It sends the message that this city, and its education system, is closed for business. It leaves the people who will run the world of the future with a terrible impression of Britain and its people. And all that’s without even getting into questions about whether or not cutting immigration is actually a laudable goal in the first place.

Worse than any of that, though, it’s unfair. Genuine, legitimate students, who came here to experience this city and to learn, are being told to leave because of someone else’s administrative screw up. What possible benefit could that have for anyone?

Image courtesy of Trodel, under a creative commons licence

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Jonn

Article by Jonn Elledge | 94 Articles | View Profile

  • Rohan

    This is a ridiculous article. I am an Indian living in London (working not student, on a legal visa) – I have met dozens if not hundreds of Indians, Pakistanis and other Asians who are here on student visas but haven’t attended a day of lessons. They are not interested in getting a degree and are here to overstay.

    • G E

      Well I am one of those visa students from Point Blank and even though I attended my classes and did nothing wrong I am being forced to go back to my country. I am a DJ and a producer and I had no intentions to stay in the UK as I love my hometown (Istanbul) a lot more than London, but I decided to come here because of this specific school as they are the best in their field. However, now I’m left in the middle of this situation, I can’t get my diploma and I only had two months left to get my diploma. Six months I’ve spent here is just a waste now and my future plans are also ruined. How would you feel if you were in my situation?

  • rob22t

    Its time people wake up to the problems caused by immigration. Its not racist to be concerned about it!

    • Anakin J

      It’s not *necessarily* racist to be concerned, just so long as concern isn’t a euphemism for something deeper and more irrational.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Beth-Williams/1266638639 Beth Williams

    The problem is that so many ‘students’ fail to return to their home country. Perhaps the answer is to require a substantial bond to be deposited of say £10,000 which is repaid when they return home. I also think that all immigrants, including students, should be required to exhibit a valid medical insurance policy upon arrival into this country.

  • Immigrant

    The people who posted adverse comments below must be part of London’s population that are too lazy to read anything but the Daily Mail but I’m sure they enjoy their Kabbabs as they crawl out of the ever decreasing pubs because of the stupid policies and lack of intelligent reasoning seen by the so called leaders of this country. Let’s blame the economy and lack of productivity on the immigrants instead of the policies in place for so long.

  • MB

    Definitely agree. I’m an American who will be doing a masters in London next year. Since I have dual UK citizenship, I wouldn’t have any problems staying after; however, it should definitely be easier for my other American friends. There are major incentives for it – the higher education system in the States is basically in the midst of a tuition crisis, and we’re looking for other options. In fact, I’ve been getting emails from London Universities International Parternship, specifically directed at Americans, selling the fact you can get your education for about a third of the cost (not to mention the breadth and perspective of an international degree in a world city). I’m sold!

    • Sasha

      Except that most American universities are much better funded than their European counterparts thanks to high tuition rates of undergrads and large endowments. Because of this, American graduate programs are much more likely to give you graduate assistantships or fellowships (IF you have the talent). I went to a public American university for my master’s and didn’t pay a cent. That would never have happened in the UK, unless I was one of the handful of Fulbright or Rhodes scholars selected each year….but most of us are not going to receive such awards…

      • MB

        Depends on the University and your personal situation, obviously. All of the American ones I applied to were at least twice as expensive, and also twice as long (which doubles the cost of living essentially unemployed, paying rent, while you go to school). In general there seem to be more funding opportunities at undergraduate or PhD level, whereas a masters has more of a professional purpose, and many students take on the loans because they consider it an investment.

  • Danna

    The students who come to the UK with legitimate skills and experience have the opportunity to stay on in the UK. If they are offered employment with a registered sponsor they can get a Tier 2 visa without needing to meet the Resident Labour Market Test (the biggest road-block for migrant workers wishing to come to the UK). Too many students come to the UK with no work experience, don’t bother to complete internships while in the UK, and study for subjects in fields that are already swamped with unemployed graduates and then they can’t figure out why they can’t get a job…..It really has little to do with immigration. I can wager that these same students have trouble finding jobs in their own countries, where they don’t even need a visa for permission to work.