From 16- 22 June 2020, we asked tier 4 international students to respond to a survey describing their experiences and support from their universities whilst under COVID-19 lockdown. We particularly wanted to understand if they were facing destitution and hardship, especially because they have no recourse to public funds (NRPF).
The experiences of tier 4 international students largely mirrored those of other migrants who have been facing hardship and poverty but they have an additional issue regarding their precarity based on the threat of being suspended from their courses, and their student visa’s being revoked because they are unable to pay their tuition fees as per some universities demands.
There is a woeful lack of support structures in place within UK higher education for tier 4 international students. Some tier 4 students are too afraid to seek out help when needed for fear that this may impact upon their immigration status.
Highly Skilled Migrants
‘Refusal of indefinite leave to remain on tax amendment grounds’
In early 2018, MRN was asked to intervene on behalf of a number of migrants and their families that had been refused residency on the grounds of having made tax amendments during their self-employment history. These amendments were deemed by the Home Office to mean these individuals were of ‘poor character’ and therefore was refusing them settlement. The Home Office’s decision left many families destitute and struggling to survive.
The case was won in court but this has not stopped the Home Office from continuing to push individuals and families into destitution through its delay tactics and decision-making processes. The campaign and the fight continues…….
“MRN supported us to achieve justice against the inhumane policies of Home Office. The moment we met MRN, we were hopeless and had no direction. They helped us to achieve our tasks legally by knocking on the doors of the courts. MRN became the source to ignite light in the lives of many families for no reason other than to watch them enjoy the glow. We are extremely thankful to MRN and its staff for bringing back life of many young families.”Salman- Highly Skilled Migrant Group/ Tier 1 Community
NHS Digital & Home Office Data Sharing
MRN contested the data-sharing agreement between the Home Office, NHS Digital and the Department of Health, which had been drawn up in secret in November 2016. It enabled the sharing of confidential patient information by the NHS with the Home Office for immigration enforcement purposes. In May 2018, the Government announced it would suspend the data-sharing agreement pending amendments, and the legal challenge was placed on hold. Later in November 2018, the data sharing agreement was withdrawn completely. This was our small but significant contribution to the creation of a kink in the ‘hostile environment’
“Thank you for fighting for this vital cause – which goes to the heart of human rights, patient confidentiality and personal dignity. It speaks to the kind of nation we are and want to be. Good luck!”Anonymous supporter