OUSU is calling on international students to respond to an NUS survey collecting opinions on the government’s proposed immigration bill.
Students in all NUS-affiliated universities are being asked to complete the survey so that student opinion can be presented to the House of Lords, ahead of their vote on the bill.
A number of the proposals would affect all students from outside the EEA, leading to added expense if studying in the UK. Landlords will be required to check the immigrant status of student tenants, and international students will be required to pay £150 per year in NHS charges.
In an email circulated to international students, Garlen Lo – OUSU VP for Graduates – stated that the NUS are aiming to ‘reject two aspects of the bill’ – the NHS charges and the need for ID for renting private accommodation.
Yajing Xi, International Students Officer for OUSU, said she was “disappointed” by the Government’s handling of the issue.
“I condemn the immigration bill and am disappointed by the attitude of the British Government towards international students,” she said.
“Though intended to restrict illegal immigration, international students are the ones suffering most under it, as they constitute 75% of those subjected to visa controls.”
“One of the things that makes Oxford so special to me is the chance to meet people from all kinds of background from all over the world.”
“International students make up over 30% of our student body, losing them would be more than just a reduction in number, it would be a huge loss to our education as well as the university’s and in general terms, UK’s economy,” she added.
A statement on the NUS website echoed this view, stating: “We believe that the introduction of healthcare charges of up to £200 per person per year of study is discriminatory, counter-intuitive and impractical.”
It adds: “We think this gives a message that international students are not welcome in the UK and will mean more students will choose to study elsewhere where Government policies and rhetoric increasingly favour international students”.
The survey forms part of the NUS’s ‘Don’t Shut the Door on International Students Campaign’.
International students have until 31st January to complete the survey, before the bill is voted on in Parliament.