For non-EEA students wishing to study in the UK, the UK is proving itself an inhospitable host. The UKBA’s revocation of London Metropolitan University’s sponsor licence, leaving thousands of foreign students to face deportation, was just one instance in what seems an emerging pattern of cynical disregard of non-EEA students.
To add insult to injury, last week hordes of foreign students were forced to queue for hours outside the Overseas Visitors Records Office (OVRO), subjected to traditional British weather. As a condition of leave in the UK, nationals from certain non-EEA countries must register with the police within seven days of their arrival in the UK. Those migrants who are based in London have just one office with which to register – the OVRO on Borough High Street. This option is shared by tens of thousands of foreign students required to register in London during September and October before the start of the academic year, in addition to other migrants in the UK who must also register.
Evidently, this resulted in queues of students outside the OVRO, many arriving at agonisingly early hours of the morning in an attempt to ensure they could register within their seven-day deadline. Those who did not arrive before 6:30am were likely to be turned away.
Since then the UKBA has sanctioned registration through universities, effective as of Monday 8 October. Students now have a choice of either handing in a police registration form at the OVRO or coordinating registration with their university. Both options require attendance at the OVRO before 31 December 2012 to finalise registration.
This concession does appear to have addressed the issue and lines of students can no longer be found adorning Borough High Street. However, this does not detract from the pile-up of PR disasters that have struck studying abroad in the UK of late.