Students not Suspects are a broad coalition of students, staff and campaigners, primarily based at Goldsmiths, who are opposed to the new ‘points based’ immigration system that the government has recently introduced.
UCU has come out against this system with a position of non-compliance. We need to ensure that we support our staff in their struggles and to continue with the campaign against cuts and fees in order to make the connections between all these issues.
This is what the campaign has on their facebook group:
Why oppose the new immigration rules?
The new ‘points based’ immigration rules represent a serious threat to campus democracy and freedom of speech. They require non-EU students and staff to have biometric ID cards, involve demands on the financial background of applicants and mean that staff are obliged to report students to the UK Border Agency when they have not attended regularly.We feel these rules are unwarranted, undemocratic and unfair.
Let’s build a campaign together. All welcome.
WHAT IS POINTS BASED IMMIGRATION?
The Home Office has introduced a new points based system for immigration, which awards points to workers from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) for their perceived desirability (level of skill etc.). The new system affects education by making it more difficult for students and staff from outside the EEA to obtain visas and subjecting them to discriminatory treatment.
Applicants for student visas must now demonstrate they have approximately £17,000 in the bank for 28 days and in some cases register with the police. Students and staff applying to extend their stay must submit biometric information (fingerprints and photographs) and get ID cards.
As part of the system, colleges and universities wishing to employ staff or recruit students from outside the EEA will have to register as licensed sponsors, which means they are now required to monitor the attendance of students and report them to UKBA if they miss a certain number of ‘interactions’ (classes, tutorials, assignments, etc.) or for ‘suspicions of breach of conditions’.
WHY SHOULD YOU CARE?
The rules represent a serious threat to democracy and academic freedom, and violate privacy. Overseas students are treated as potential suspects who have come to the UK with the specific goal of abusing the immigration rules. The rules harm the relationship of trust between students and staff and create divisions between EEA and overseas students. Furthermore, the introduction of biometric ID cards for foreign nationals is a backdoor route to their general introduction.
These new rules damage the UK academic environment as a whole. They introduce yet another layer of bureaucracy and surveillance. Bureaucratic complications have already interrupted the education of some and forced them to return home. The financial requirements make it impossible for students from less privileged backgrounds and/or countries with low currency exchange rates to study in the UK. All this
encourages inequality and suspicion and shuts down dialogue and international exchange, resulting in a less vibrant campus environment.
WHO ARE WE?
Students not Suspects are a broad coalition of students, staff and campaigners, primarily based at Goldsmiths, who are opposed to the new rules.
Goldsmiths Students’ Union has passed a motion asking staff not to comply with the new rules, and the Goldsmiths branch of University College Union (UCU) has a policy of non-compliance with the rules. Furthermore, several departments at the College have adopted statements of opposition to the rules: the Centre for Cultural Studies, Media and Communications and Visual Cultures.
HOW TO GET INVOLVED
Check out our blog for more information at studentsnotsuspects.blogspot.com
Contact us to tell us your experiences and/or get involved at
We will be holding weekly organising meetings every THursday, 5pm, RHB138.
It’s also important to spread the word as widely as possible to raise awareness of the issue and the campaign. Pass it on!