Friday, 17 July 2015

What Is A Foreign Student?

Because of this story in the left-leaning Huffington Post, I thought it worth taking a few moments to explain what a foreign student is. Remember that I worked in the Immigration Dept of the Home Office for several years, some time ago, including on the public counters and answering telephone enquiries, so have a lot of insider knowledge.

For this I am ignoring the case of EU citizens, as we don't have the same kind of control over their movements and it would muddy the waters to attempt to factor them into this post.

The UK's purpose for foreign students was that they could learn to the high standards of higher education we have long had in this country and then take that back to their home country where they can deploy that knowledge and skill-set to improve the way that nation is in some way. It has never been intended as a route to employment here in Britain since the Immigration Act under which we were then operating was passed, quite some years previously.

At the time, I was operating under that law as amended (many times!) including on several occasions by the then current Labour government. This is not a 'Theresa May' thing!

Therefore this (rather skewed and inaccurate) piece in the HuffPo is largely a nonsense. It is indeed the current oft-voiced criticism of 'foreigners stealing our jobs' for one reason or another that was the reason for that formulation of the original legislation in the first place. Therefore the expectation was that overseas students would leave our country when their studies were complete – or within a reasonable period thereafter, at any rate.

There might be slight confusion in some people's minds in that – while they are studying (nothing to do with what follows) – such students on longer learning periods, such as at University, are usually permitted to take employment. This, though, is for the long-established practice of in-vacation short-term jobs, such as my brother did during the years he was at uni (he kept hot drinks vending machines cleaned and re-stocked, by the way).

Overseas students are not 'deported' at the end of their study time (plus a few months, typically) which, incidentally, would be at public expense. Tourists and other visitors to our fair nation are not deported either – unless they remain beyond their allowed time here, sometimes extended thugh so it doesn't happen all that often.

No: the deliberately emotive d-word is clearly intended here to slant the piece to generate outrage – a standard Lefty tactic, of course.

Incidentally, if someone's immigration-related circumstances change significantly, then there has always been provision to apply for an extension or (in appropriate circumstances) permanent residence. I do not believe that has been removed, nor is it likely to be.

Finally, all the facts about coming here to study are made clear to those applying to do so. If they don't agree with those conditions, then we're not forcing them to come here. If, as the HuffPo writer claims, it's different in other countries, well then perhaps one of those might have been a better choice for this individual.

The bottom line is that I have no sympathy whatsoever, having dealt with many thousands of students from abroad in my time – including a small number who were trying to worm their way in on a permanent basis, though most were genuine. Despite the (rather convenient?) arguments elsewhere in the piece, the writer of the linked piece comes across as perhaps not having come here on a genuine basis...

1 comment:

  1. I know lots of people who studied to get residence and then citizenship here.
    I am amazed that politicians don't stop it.
    My lodger for example who gets lots of tax credits but pays no tax is one of them.
    Of course one solution would be to say British citizenship is only available to people who have paid £x net tax (say £10k) in the last few years everyone has to pay a fee of £10k.


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