Disillusioned Discordian

Government gets ‘Tough’ on foreign students
August 1, 2008, 3:00 pm
Filed under: ID Cards / Surveillance, Political

Latest Home Office plans are set to toughen up rules for international students and pave the way to introducing them with compulsory ID cards and fingerprinting. The scheme will work by requiring Universities to have a license in order to ‘sponsor’ and international student. As with what happens currently with alcohol licensing regulations all sorts of illiberal measure are then introduced as pre-requisites for obtaining a license. A full list of the proposal can be read here, some choice bits include:

Co-op with UKBA (suitably vague and disconcerting).

Report to UKBA any students who fail to
enrol on their course;

Report to UKBA any unauthorised student

Report to UKBA any students who
discontinue their studies (including any
deferrals of study);

Report to UKBA any significant changes in
students’ circumstances.

In effect this will make Universties the extended eyes and ears of the UKBA by forcing them to ‘report’ on their students activites. They will have to let UKBA know of changes in circumstance of students and changes of address. This will put an additional administrative burden on the sector, which in turn puts up the cost to a university of running a course.

This follows on from the ATAS Academic Technologies Approval Scheme that requires Universties to supply information about research topics for overseas PhD students working in ‘sensitive’ areas.

The international student market is currently propping up the budgets of a large number of UK HE institutions. Enforcing bureaucratic, draconian and discriminatory measures (fingerprinting & ID cards for a selective group of the population) on international students risk negatively affecting the viability of the international student market. The UK share of the market which brings in apx. £8bn to our economy and contributes to our intellectual culture has dropped from 16% to 11% from 1994 -2008 . Rather than making it more difficult to study here by forcing overseas students to have ID cards and get fingerprinted and UK HEI to report on them we should be making it easy to come and study here.


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