Immigration and asylum

Visa extension to boost numbers of overseas students in UK after Brexit | Education

International students will be given visa extensions of up to a year to look for work in the UK as part of a package of government measures to boost numbers of overseas students after Brexit. The move represents a break with current policy, where students are allowed to stay for just four months after graduation. Announcing the strategy, the Department for Education (DfE) said: “There is no limit on the number of international students that can study in the UK,…

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Boris beware: students are angry and we’re ready to vote against you | Zamzam Ibrahim | Education

If 1.3 million under-34s voting in 2017 was a “youthquake”, what would you call the 2.6 million registering this time around? The surge in youth and student voter registrations is no accident. Students and their unions have been working tirelessly for months: we started registering students during freshers’ week because we were determined to be ready when a general election was called. All that organising wouldn’t be effective without the fuel for social change: anger, disillusionment, injustice, and hope. The…

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University staff: use this week’s strike to protest against the hostile environment | Unis Resist Border Controls | Education

In recent months, the hostile environment in UK universities has received increasing media attention. The cases of academics such as Dr Furaha Asani and students including Bamidele Chika Agbakuribe and Ahmed Sedeeq are just a handful of examples of the countless injustices that are now a regular part of life. Meanwhile, members of the Universities and Colleges Union (UCU) are striking over pensions and pay. These are important issues, but university workers should extend the fight to end the hostile…

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‘Xenophobia in the system’: university staff launch fightback against hostile environment | Education

Karen Wells, professor of human geography at Birkbeck, University of London, was outraged to be informed that before she could conduct a PhD viva exam at another university she had to submit her passport for Home Office checks. Wells says this sort of heightened surveillance is part of the same “hostile environment” that has seen academics threatened with deportation and unable to bring their children into the country. In recent months the Guardian has reported on numerous cases in which…

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Department of Education criticised for secretly sharing children’s data | Education

The UK’s privacy regulator has criticised the Department for Education (DfE) for secretly sharing children’s personal data with the Home Office, triggering fears it could be used for immigration enforcement as part of the government’s hostile environment policy. Acting on a complaint by the campaigning organisation, Against Borders for Children (ABC), the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) ruled that the DfE had failed to comply fully with its data protection obligations and may face further regulatory action. Pupil data is routinely…

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Teacher who helps migrant children turn pain into prize poetry | Education

Kate Clanchy, tall, fast-talking and slightly intimidating, lays out more than a score of slim books on the kitchen table in her Oxford home. They are collections of poetry written by children she taught, published with the help of grants that she tirelessly raised. One, in Arabic, with an English translation, is from a 13-year-old Syrian refugee, a boy with “messy handwriting and limited vocabulary” (but “a genius” all the same), according to the preface. Another has poems written in…

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Home Office reverses visa decision for second Oxford academic | Education

The Home Office has made a sudden U-turn on its decision to ban the young children of an Oxford University professor, Amber Murrey, from living with her in the UK – the second time in a week it has reversed a visa refusal for the child of an Oxford academic following reports in the Guardian. Now the university and the elite Russell Group of universities, of which Oxford is a member, are calling on the Home Office to change its…

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UK to deport academic to Democratic Republic of Congo – which she has never visited | Education

Furaha Asani, a young academic at Leicester University, was shocked when her visa application was rejected in August. But real fear set in when she realised Britain plans to deport her in three weeks’ time to the Democratic Republic of Congo – a war-torn country she has never visited and where the Home Office agrees sexual violence is pervasive. Dr Asani came to the UK on a full scholarship to do a PhD on infection and immunity at Sheffield University,…

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Oxford professor’s children refused visas to join her in UK | Education

Amber Murrey, an American academic, was “ecstatic” about being appointed associate professor in geography at Oxford University last year. But the dream turned sour two weeks ago when the Home Office refused to grant visas for her two daughters, aged four and nine, to live with her in the UK. Dr Murrey used an immigration lawyer to make sure the visa applications for her daughters, who have US passports, went smoothly, and was not anticipating a problem. Her husband has…

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UK work visas for foreign graduates to be extended to two years | Education

International students are to be offered a two-year work visa after graduating from a British university, the government will announce, overturning a key plank of Theresa May’s restrictive immigration policies. Currently, graduates with bachelors or master’s degrees are allowed to look for work for only four months. From next year all international graduates could qualify for a two-year period to work in the UK, increasing their chances of finding long-term employment after studying. The measure goes further than the Home…

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US academic given two weeks to leave UK after eight years | Education

After eight years researching music history at Glasgow University, Elizabeth Ford hoped her request for a visa extension would sail through this summer. Instead, the Home Office gave the American academic two weeks to pack up her life and leave the country. Ford has held a research fellowship at Edinburgh University – which, like Glasgow is in the elite Russell Group – and is due to begin a new research fellowship at Oxford University. But this is in jeopardy after…

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Birmingham University in row over ‘racist’ treatment of non-EU staff | Education

The University of Birmingham has been criticised over plans to more strictly enforce immigration controls for international staff, with unions and campaigners accusing it of pursuing draconian and discriminatory monitoring of non-EU academics. This week, the university issued guidelines stating that non-EU staff will be required to “record their attendance in the new system each day, by completing a time card. At the end of the week their line manager, will be required to validate the time card.” The briefing…

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