On Monday the Home Office announced a further series of restrictive changes to visa regulations for international students in further and higher education. This included restricting international students’ ability to change courses, preventing Tier 4 dependents from taking ‘unskilled’ employment, forcing students to leave the UK after graduation, and increasing the upfront costs of Tier 4 visas and extensions.
Oxford University Student Union (OUSU) condemns this latest set of attacks on international students by the Home Office. The past five years have seen a deliberate and draconian series of clamp-downs on international students, including but not limited to: scrapping the post-study work visa, charging for the NHS, and introducing biometric identity cards and landlord checks. According to NUS research, over 50% of non-EU students now feel that the UK government is not welcoming to them.
In the lead-up to the 2015 General Elections, OUSU campaigned against existing unfavourable legislation (such as the new NHS surcharge and the termination of the 4-month transitional period at the end of an undergraduate degree), and we have unequivocally condemned such legislation at OUSU Council due to its xenophobic and apparently racist nature.
We believe international students are a key asset to our university and the high quality of education that it has provided over the centuries. As a student union we are committed to the protection of the rights and voices of all whom we represent, and we count international students as an important and vulnerable minority student group. We will stand up for the interests of our members and fight against these continued attacks against the rights of international students and other migrants.
We strongly urge the Government to rethink the proposed legislative changes, and sincerely encourage all who are not yet involved in this campaign to oppose further harmful attacks against international students.