Guardian letter

Tory party restrictions on international students will damage UK and universities

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Amber Rudd’s announcement that she intends to cut international student numbers to help the Government meet immigration targets will do lasting damage to UK universities and wider society, and the UK’s international reputation. International students enrich the environment for home students, encourage cultural exchange and understanding, and make universities places where diverse experience and learning combine. They boost local economies and help create dynamic and exciting communities.

Many people will see the Conservative Party targeting international students as a return to the ‘nasty party’ of old. And Rudd is also proposing to force companies to disclose how many foreign workers they employ. Some 3 million EU/EEA citizens who work and live in the UK are being treated as an undesired burden by a party that wants to gamble with their future and that of millions of British people living elsewhere in Europe.

But neither international students nor immigrant workers are responsible for the state of the British economy, and excluding them will not benefit British workers. Nor will the £1.9m wall Theresa May is building in Calais. The wall will just make the journeys of immigrants and refugees more dangerous and expensive, and render them more vulnerable.

The University and Colleges Union has launched a campaign to defend international students and staff in our colleges. We encourage you to support this campaign, and to defend freedom of movement across Europe post-Brexit. A meeting on 22nd October at UCL will discuss how to achieve this.

Signed

Lucia Pradella (Kings College London)
Phoebe Moore (Middlesex)
Carlo Morelli (Dundee, UCU NEC)
Sean Wallis (UCL, UCU NEC)

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