Protect International Students' Rights
International students are a great social, cultural and economic asset and a key contributor to British Higher Education. International students bring billions of pounds to the British economy, help forge vital business contacts and are important ambassadors for British culture globally. We do not agree with labelling international students as “immigrants” as they reside in the UK temporally, make significant contributions and are in no way a burden to the country. The proposed measures in the Home Office consultation on student immigration would restrict the freedom of choice of international students and would significantly damage their university experience. International students should retain their rights to: • Find work experience in the UK for up to two years - it is the combination of an excellent degree with professional experience that will ensure they return to their country well qualified; • Work while studying - this is an essential way for students to gain skills that will help them become more employable after graduation; • Bring their dependants to the UK freely - it is a human right to be with your family and students, whose dependants cannot enter the country with them, have proven to underperform academically. Furthermore, students’ dependants should be allowed the right to work as they deserve free access to integrate and contribute to British society; • Apply for visa for a new course within the UK - travelling home for this purpose is expensive and timely. For many students, who complete a foundation year or a language course before their degree, it is simply impossible to renew their visa from home in sufficient time to start their course; • Study a second course of the same qualification - it is a matter of choice for them to do so. Students should continue to be allowed to decide to change their degree subject to a more appropriate one later on or take a second qualification that will enhance their careers prospects the same way a British student can. We the undersigned appeal to the government not to accept the changes proposed in the Home Office consultation on the current student immigration system.