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Past Campaigns
International Students

We’ve consulting with international students to understand how they’ve been affected by COVID-19 lockdown

Covid-19 has created an unprecedented crisis and response for all affected in the UK. Yet, the government’s response has still managed to let down those most vulnerable and at risk i.e. migrants, because they do not have access to a safety net, and are being forced into destitution and hardship.

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).

Our Findings

  • We had 124 respondents from 31 universities across the UK with 28 nationalities represented. Two-thirds of the respondents were male.
  • 81 students approached their university for support, advice and hardship funds. Of these 38 received some form of support/ advice and/or hardship fund. There were 12 who were rejected for hardship funds, and 28 who at the time of the study were awaiting a response.
  • 70 of the 124 students, believed they were destitute or at risk of becoming destitute. Some had been able to access support via mutual aid groups but others had failed to find an organisation that could support them.

…My family has gone into debt coping with the sudden expenses of quarantine and ensuring health and safety for myself being overseas…knowing the university could care less is not shocking but it is absolutely unacceptable…

Female, American, Age: 26-35, Queen Mary UoL


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.

For this reason we are demanding an end to NRPF to ensure that tier 4 students never find themselves destitute or forced into destitution.

Read the full report here

End NRPF & Tuition Amnesty Campaign

With Unis Resist Border Controls we launched a campaign for an end to no recourse to public funds conditions, and demand a tuition amnesty for Tier 4 international students.

Read the press release and letter to the Home Secretary here

Our Main Partner on this issue

Unis Resist Border Controls (URBC) is a national campaign made up of British, EU, non-EU, migrant students, lecturers, & university workers opposed to Home Office surveillance, the Hostile Environment, and border controls on UK campuses. 

Email: [email protected] 

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