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November 28, 2021

ICIBI submission of the immigration system in relation to higher education

Students

Submission by Migrants’ Rights Network to ICIBI Call for evidence: An inspection of the immigration system as it relates to the higher education sector- November 2021

This evidence submission addresses the areas of: the impact of the ‘hostile environment’ and immigration policies on tier 4 international students, and the consequences of Covid-19 on their studies and experience in the higher education sector. Below are the key asks and recommendations.

Key asks & recommendations

  • MRN would recommend the ICIBI investigate the higher education sector and its relationship with the ‘hostile environment’.
  • We would always recommend the higher education sector to consider the needs and wellbeing of its students regardless of their immigration status, and that would mean they challenge the Home Office compliance measures that enforce the ‘hostile environment’ policies in their settings.
  • We also recommend that the ICIBI look at how higher education settings fail to engage appropriately with tier 4 international students to minimise the threat and risk of deportation.
  • We would recommend that the higher education sector consult fully with tier 4 international students including face-to-face meetings of their concerns about visa condition compliance at their earliest opportunity to avoid risking the threat of deportation.
  • The provision of sound immigration legal advice is poor and wanting in the higher education setting. We would like the ICIBI to investigate what immigration advice and case work the higher education sector offers, and the quality of this provision.
  • We would recommend that higher education settings partner with local or national immigration providers to ensure that tier 4 international students have access to independent qualified immigration legal advice
  • The higher education sector offers support structures to some students but not all. We would like the ICIBI to uncover if and why this sector discriminates against tier 4 international students.
  • We would recommend higher education settings to make support structures and hardship funds available and easily accessible to ALL students without discrimination of tier 4 international students.
  • Lastly, we would like the ICIBI to consider how the NRPF policies intersect and impact tier 4 international students. We would recommend the higher education sectors better understand the NRPF policies, how they impact tier 4 international students, and how such policies risk forcing individuals into destitution, and seek to actively challenge them.

Read the full submission here