I’ve been living in the UK now for four years. I first studied at Queens University in Belfast, Northern Ireland and received a 2.1 BA in International Politics. I decided to further my studies and this year I am studying a Masters at LSE in Human Rights. My original student visa issued in 2008 was valid for four years. I’m not certain why they decided to give me an extra year as my first degree was only three years long. However, I didn’t question this at the time. When I arrived in London for my Masters, the Immigration Office at LSE also questioned my visa, but assured me that since I still had a legal status, everything would be ok. Seeing as I already have a degree from a UK institution and work part-time, I was one of the lucky ones who could apply for the post-study work visa before they are cut in April. I had all of my documents prepared and had sent away for my visa. However, my grandfather passed away in America and I needed to urgently withdraw my application and get my passport back to fly home. When I returned to England, I submitted my application again. However, my bank statements were now more than a month old by two days. I had to fly back to Belfast at an added expense to get more bank statements that had an official stamp. Everything was extremely stressful and contingent on paperwork that had to be dated exactly. I have sent away for my visa, but I am still extremely nervous. There is no information provided by the UKBA about the ending of the post-study work visa and this transition period. The UKBA are notoriously picky about dates, but seem to have provided absolutely no help or information about their own dates and what applications will be accepted. I am extremely disappointed in the help I have received from my institution and from UKBA. Everything is very unclear and ambiguous. Now is the time to start applying for jobs, but as I am still uncertain if my visa will be granted, and so I am not sure which box to tick regarding the ‘right to work’. The lack of communication from the UKBA regarding the processing times of applications is appalling, leaving the applicant very nervous and uncertain.
I am here on a tier 4 working on my masters degree, I am a “non-traditional” student in that I am over 30 YO. When I was accepted I was informed that the rules had changed in July and I would no longer be allowed to bring my daughter since my course was not over 365 days (I am short about 20 days). I have sole custody of my daughter, being a single parent with a child who has type 1 Diabetes, I chose to go to UK because I could get my degree in one year as opposed to 3 years staying in USA. So for that privilege I had to sacrifice time with my daughter I will never get back. I am still so angry with UKBA for splitting us apart because they made a blanket rule. I am a USA citizen and WOULD NEVER stay here past my visa time, it would be stupid! She will come visit me but it is not the same. We have never been apart more than 2 weeks. So was wondering if there were any other people that had this problem??
Hi, I’m Helen, and I’m from South Korea. I’m a first year student at UCL studying Law.
To start off with, I am an international student by UK immigration standards. I’ve had to obtain a 3 year student visa in order to study at UCL. I also pay international fees, which are triple what the EU and Home students of the 2011 cohort pays.
However, what is a little different about me, compared to most of you here is this: I have been living here for 9 years. That’s right, I came to the UK in January 2003, and studied in primary and secondary schools up until now. And they still consider me an international student. As a result, I have had to renew my student visa every couple of years, paying the expensive independent fee-paying school fees (because if you come to study before 16 years of age, you have to go to a fee paying school) and the visa renewal fees (which did continuously go up every few years!).
I know that the recent changes in Tier 4 and PSW schemes don’t directly affect me, but I just wanted to rant about the overall immigration law considering non-EU nationals, and highlighting the unfair price we all have to pay.
The truth is, there is a huge number of immigrants in the UK. If you live in London, you will notice it straight away. If you live in the provinces like Kent (where I used to live), there are not many immigrants. In fact, it is quite hard to see a non-British face, although that is changing as well. The British are alarmed at the pace their home and surroundings is changing, and I daresay they have the right to feel that way. It’s not xenophobia- it is simply one of the consequences borne out of globalisation, and it does take some time for people to get used to.
But I have a qualm with the British government trying to squeeze every last penny out of non-EU nationals before telling us to depart the country.
The core of the immigration problem lies not with a couple of bad non-EU students who use it as a means to illegally enter the country (and they are often caught out or not allowed in the country in the first place), but with EU and Commonwealth nationals. They have a much relaxed immigration rules applying to them, and from my experience, people from the Commonwealth countries are the ones much more likely to settle here permanently than non-EU students. Every single one of my friends from Hong Kong, China, South Korea, Japan and many other countries tell me that they want to go back home after a few years worth of training/internship. For law, it is a necessary for us to obtain a training contract, otherwise we will not get any opportunities for a job.
I despise the fact that I am still treated as a foreigner despite having lived here for 9 years, and I am now worried that I won’t be able to get a job because I need a work permit to do so. I am aiming to apply for a permanent residence permit next year, but there are rumours that the 10 years continuous residence requirement will change, and I am praying that it doesn’t change. It used to be the case that you could stay for 5 years straight before applying for one. This is one of the things in Britain that more than irks me. It is frustrating and painful. The government has absolutely no right to tell me that I don’t belong here, or I haven’t integrated here fully- I have more friends in the UK than I do back home, and although I’ve lived here with my mum for the duration of my education in schools, I speak fluent English (and I’ve been told that I have a very British accent on the phones, and they are surprised I am not British!). And although there are not many like me, I know they all feel the same way, one way or another.
Now, I don’t understand why they are not embracing international students. In America, in Holland, in Singapore and many other countries welcome international students. They have grants and scholarships available for international students, and the immigration laws are not as tight and not so fast-changing like here. They seem to recognise that in order to study and work here, we have to spend money as well. We pay the rent, the fees, food, drinks, clubbing etc. which in the end comes back to the British from direct income and VAT. The VAT rate is very high, a lot higher than back home, and other tax rates are high too. This should mean that the more people spend the better it is, and the faster they will be able to escape the doldrums in the economy.
But no, they decide to kick us out once we have finished our studies. They blame us for the failure of multiculturalism (no it hasn’t failed, but that’s another story) and leeching off the economy. It leaves a very sour taste in your mouth once you have friends who have to miss out on freshers’ and orientation week, and possibly even more, when they haven’t got a visa on time because of stricter rules and slow visa processes. I theorise that the overall inefficiency and delays in the immigration rules due to the amount of paperwork we have to submit. I am lucky to be born in a ‘low-risk’ country, but I can imagine the pains of getting a police certificate and interviews for others.
This simply cannot go on. I’ve had to put up with this for the past 5 years when they really started to amp up the immigration law. You can’t just declare that all apples are bad because of a few rotten apples in the same box; you just throw them out, and make sure that it doesn’t happen again.
It’s a right shame that they are denying access to a great education here, and I would not trade my 9 years of living in the UK for anything else. However, when I eventually return to Korea to my family in the next couple of years after working here, I don’t want to leave feeling that I’ve been hurriedly ushered out. That’s just rubbing salt in my wounds.
Does anyone feel that these measures are put in place to ensure that Britain continues to drain Billions of pounds from poorer countries in university fee’s whilst not giving them the opportunity to work and get the skills needed to go home and develop their motherland? I wonder how many young bright international students would have improved the third world upon returning had they had the opportunity to work for a few years before returning. Im English born and Bred but feel very angry at many of the policies of the government and I dread to think where the country is headed and even where the world is headed. Such oppresive policies will only return to bite us in the back
Please show your support for schools across the UK who are struggling against the unfair and damaging immigration policies of the current British government. International students are valuable contributors to our economy and our education system, and by labelling them as “migrants” rather than students the government has created a media myth that students are coming and taking British jobs!? Ridiculous!!
At the Islington Centre for English, we would like to see the UKBA targeting bogus students and colleges and not arbitrarily reducing student numbers. Constant rule changes affect students, universities, the economy and, of course, the UK’s reputation as the World’s top destination for an international education. We urge the UKBA to target illegal immigration NOT STUDENTS! Students are the perfect temporary migrants - they come in, spend lots of money during a recession, enrich our cultural life, work cheaply for local businesses and then go home and trade with the UK with the added benefit of cementing English as the world language of commerce. A classic win, win!
The answer? We urge the govt to implement a targeted approach to countries with differing histories of immigration compliance and to actually deport those students who are breaking the terms of their visas. Our message to the Government: Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Good luck all at LSE.
I am from Pakistan currently studying my post graduate course at Brunel University London. My course is going to finish in September of 2012 and my university has a Highly Trusted Sponsor license.
I came here to study and after finishing my course just wanted to gain international work experience in my relevent field which seems like it’s not going to be possible due to the recent changes in the student immigration policy. (Closing of Post-Study Work Permit) I have the potential and strong desire to acheive success in my career but as defined by the Government only the brightest and the best would only have the to right to remain in UK after april 6 2012.
As an international student I think it is very difficult to decide who the brightest and the best among many individuals are. I know the current employment situation is not in favor of graduates from all over the world in UK. But some graduates get graduates roles right after their degree and some graduates have to do struggle for a bit. Does that mean that they are not brightest and best?? I really appreciate the concern over student immigration policy by the UK Universities. Also i would like to say on the behalf of all non-european and european students that we understand the student visa abuse in UK and it shouldn’t be appreciated as it brings the negative effect on the UK’s Economy and as well hurts the image of potential international students who come here to study and to gain internation exposure after the completion of their studies by following the policies in a right way.
I am not here to claim benefits in UK, I just want an opportunity to be a successful professional. Just want to share some facts infront of you mostly students from all around the Pakistan and other Asian countries pay around £13000 to £25000 in their fees excluding their living expenses and they come here just because they know they would get post study work visa after their degree’s and it should be the right of international student. Bogus colleges should be banned and the owner’s should fined maximum and what i guess only degree level students from the HTS institutions should be allowed to stay in the UK after their degree to cut the Visa Abuse from the system. I understand this fact that most of the colleges offer courses to international students who wants to enter in UK by using student visa and once they get here they dont go to college and the colleges did not take action against them. I want to stay here after my degree only by following the right way, which is going to be closed by the government of UK in April 2012.
Let’s all up and leave and within no time - they’ll beg us to come back. Analyse the value of everything here in the U.K and you’ll be shocked, there’s nothing to this place. Yet they insult and mistreat us who’ve funded their economy while adhering to their absurd immigration rules not to mention exorbitant visa fee’s and ridiculous monetary limits.
In late 2008, I came to UK from Taiwan to do a PhD. Meanwhile, I worked part-time as a Mandarin Chinese tutor for a college in Brighton. I have passed my probation period and the feedback from my students has been excellent, however, it would be unlikely that the college will renew my contract without a post study work permit as my Tier 4 visa will expire very soon. Since 2005, there has been a sharp increase in the demand for Mandarin teachers throughout the world. It would be unwise for UK schools to reject applications made by native speakers from non-EU countries due to their visa situations!! Are they going to hire English teachers to teach Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, or Arabic instead of native speakers?
A video testimonial from a student affected by these changes.
My name is Lois Stone and I am an American first year at the University of York. Though I love the university and my course and would never want to be anywhere else, getting my visa was the most complicated and frustrating process I have ever had to go through.
When I began going through the process, I turned to to the internet. I had to navigate several websites to find what forms I had to fill out, and even then I had no idea if I had the proper paperwork or information. Then, twice over the summer before I was to start uni, the UK government changed the immigration rules! It made the price of my visa go up and meant more paperwork to fill out. Unfortunately, the website did not update with the information and so the new documents I needed were almost impossible to find. I thought I would not be allowed in the country.
One of the worst part of filling out of the forms was filling out the banking forms. My parents were planning on funding my studies, but the immigration forms said that I had to have my own maintenance fees. I had never had reason to personally hold the amount of money they required. I was going on a hope and a prayer that they would accept that my parents would fund me for the duration of the studies.
The worst part of my experience came a week before I was to leave. I had applied for my visa months in advance to ensure there would be no problems. But a week before my flight I found out that as a resident of the United States, I had to submit both a paper and an electronic copy of my visa application form, while the electronic form had made no mention of the paper copy when I submitted it. I ended up having to pay to have my biometrics done a second time, and then had to pay to have my application rushed through. I had to journey to New York City from DC to get it done in person. It made my visa almost twice as expensive and jeopardised my ability to come to UK.
The UK’s Tier 4 laws are ridiculous and impossible to discover or understand. They are unfair to us international students who want to take advantage of the amazing education system here.
Do the international students are ever asked, how are your studies going here in UK? Are the international student ever asked, how could we make your studies more better so that you could go back to your country and start applying the learning there? Are the international students ever asked how can we improve you so that when you go back you can give the same knowledge to the people back in your country?
Why do people have to be like this? Why they always have so much of pride for being in a power?
A person is selected as a Manager of a company. He/She says the company is not making any profit, we need to reduce some staffs. It makes me laugh, Why reducing the staff has to be the first option. They would never say we need to improve our quality our service our training for the staffs but they care about removing the staffs. This is such a same. But this is not the big picture.
The big picture comes here. I have dreams. I have dreams of living a better life. I have dreams of living a better life not only for me but for all the people whose life are attached with me. I have dreams of living a life for each and everybody who have dreams in them but never have the courage to go for them. Everybody wants to have a better life, everybody want to be a better person. This is for them who make the rules, have you ever tried living your life one day in my shoes.
A 9 year old boy name (David) struggles every single day to earn some amount of money just to feed his 5 year old sister. He collects clothes and money from a temple which are the offering for the souls in heaven.When he was asked what was his dreams. His innocent mind told him he wants to be a doctor. He wants to see his sister being very happy and make her a good person in life. He has his big brother who is 11 years old and is into drugs, and when he was asked what he wants to do in future, the answer is ‘I want to die before I am 12’. But who would tell David that you need to have a £9000 in your bank account to be able to study. Who would let him know that you are born poor and you have to live it this way. There is no any space for you and your sister in today’s world. You are street children and you would always remain one.
I ask why, why,why?
You have the power of making changes for everything, than why don’t you apply the power in something good. Why don’t you apply the power to build somebody’s future like David.
It not about me or you or David or anybody means anybody, its for somebody who wants to make his/her life better.I want to study here, work here, collect some money, go back , do something better for my country so that children like David have a better life for him and their sister.
I don’t know what I am writing here, there is so much to say so much to share, but the way I am writing might not be understandable, but I pray that everybody understand education is not a business, just give the children their right to study and decide a better life for them. And I am not only talking about my country, I want all student from all over the world to have a better and a cheap education.
Even the educated person acts like a animal sometime. So selling education is not a better idea, giving knowledge is a better solution.
I am not saying make the education free but I am saying make the education cheap that everybody can afford going to a school or University and be a able person to make their country and the whole world more beautiful.
What do you think of the PSW Visa changes?: I am completely heartbroken about the changes. I am not one of those people from a non-Western country with broken English looking to settle in an ethnic enclave. I’m an American who enjoys the English lifestyle along with my boyfriend and friends, and I have the ability to make a real contribution to the economy. This is completely unfair, as these changes were announced after I had already applied and accepted my place at UEA. They could at least let the path expire this September to give everyone who is completing a course this year to finish. This is just so wrong and upsetting and I have no idea what to do….
Although I am a new student being in UK for almost 7 months, I was quite impressed by all the efficiency and fast response from private and governmental services. I cannot say the same thing about UKBA. Although I am lucky enough to be part of EU, due to an apparent fear of Romanians and Bulgarians flooding the work market we need to apply for the right to work. Specially as a student, being able to work during studies can really teach you a lot more then an university can. Not just about the subject you are studying, but about life in general, getting along with work colleagues, understanding the value of money and so on. But, beside the fact that I am against the fact that even as a student at a British university I am not allowed to work without that permit, it also takes SOO LONG to get that permit. It’s been almost 4 months, and it seams that just this week my documentation was taken for verification. I am baffled by the fact that it takes so long. It is not like I want to schedule a meeting with the queen. All the international students were accepted to study here based on their qualities, not on their financial capabilities, which many of the applicants lack. That being said, for a lot of students the denial of the working right (at least during their studies) it’s major impact to the whole experience and maybe the student financial well being.