Published on October 29, 2013 | by Laure Fourquet

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Immigration changes to hit international students

Home Secretary Theresa May making a public speech at the Policy Exchange

Home Secretary Theresa May [Flickr: UK Home Office]

International students could be directly affected by the latest Immigration Bill which, if passed, would change the rights of migrants to Britain.

The bill proposes checks for immigrants wanting to rent accommodation and to set up bank accounts, as well as making changes to cut so-called health tourism.

Temporary migrants, such as overseas students, would be required to make a contribution to use the National Health Service.

Students would be expected to pay  a one-off fee before arriving in the UK to contribute to medical care.

“International students bring so much to our universities but this levy will put off many from coming to study here,” fears Sarah Teather, Labour MP for Brent Central.

Daniel Stevens, International Student Officer of the National Union of Students (NUS), told Arts London News that the levy is expected to add another £200 per year to the current cost.

Visa fees for international students already cost £298; Chancellor George Osborne announced in July this year that the annual increase will not exceed 10 per cent.

Accommodation problems

Eva Lee, a Japanese second-year graphic design student at CSM, fears that the bill will make it harder to find a flat: “It will definitely make landlords prefer renting out their properties to British rather than international students.”

Teather was critical of the proposals to force landlords to confirm the immigration status of their prospective tenants: “The only result of this policy will be that anyone who happens to look or sound a bit foreign will find it increasingly hard to find accommodation,” she said.

According to Theresa May, the measures aim to “make it harder for people who are here illegally to stay here”.

Members of Parliament started discussion of the bill during its second reading in the House of Commons on October 22.

Scrutiny will continue in the Public Bill committee, which is inviting written evidence to be submitted before November 19.

 

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