15 April 2009
New UK visa rules for students discriminate: academics
The new UK visa rules are claimed to be discriminating against international students, according to 35 protesting academics.
Academics are boycotting the new UK visa rules for international students because they believe the rules enforce a culture of policing students. Under the new Tier 4 rules for the UK student visa, lecturers and university staff are now supposed to report international students who do not turn up to lectures, and check the ID of students and visiting academics from countries other than the UK.
In a letter to the Guardian, the lecturers said they would boycott the rules rather than facilitate what they feel to be the wrongful taking of students' freedom.
"We strongly oppose the imposition of such changes in the way that academic institutions are run. We believe these practices are discriminatory and distort academic freedoms. The implementation of UK immigration policies is not part of our contractual duties and we will play no part in practices which discriminate against students and staff."
The tough new UK visa rules for international students are part of the Government's policy of "weeding out" those students who abuse the UK student visa system.
"This new tier of the points-based system allows us to know exactly who is coming to the UK to study and crack down on bogus colleges," Ms Smith said in a statement.
"I have made it clear that I will not tolerate either the fraudulent applicants trying to abuse Britain’s immigration rules, or the dodgy colleges that facilitate them. However, Britain will always welcome legitimate students who are coming here to receive a first-rate education."
The Tier 4 of the new points-based system for immigration went live last month, which means that all UK student visa applications now must obtain sponsorship from a licensed university, independent school or college. They also need to prove their ability to financially support themselves for nine months while studying in the UK and provide biometric information to the UK Border Agency.
Last year, tuition fees from international students reached a total of £2.5 billion pounds.
The UK Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in UK visa and immigration services.