The following motion was passed unanimously at the AGM of Goldsmiths UCU earlier today. Thanks to the Free Movement of Labour Campaign for supplying the majority of the text. We’re hoping that many others pass similar motions and organise actions.
Goldsmiths UCU Branch, 06/10/16
FREE MOVEMENT OF LABOUR IN HIGHER EDUCATION
Goldsmiths UCU wishes to condemn in the strongest possible terms the proposal by home secretary Amber Rudd to restrict the entry of international students to ‘top’ universities and to introduce labour market tests aimed at reducing the numbers of international staff.
UK universities depend on international students and staff not just in economic terms but in their very mission: to serve as spaces that are open to all people regardless of nationality and background. As such, the home secretary’s proposals are both nonsensical and racist.
The linking of student immigration rules to the government’s determination to further stratify higher education is especially pernicious. It is designed to maximise competition between HE providers and to blame ‘foreigners’ for the underinvestment and cuts for which they are not responsible.
These proposals come in the light of the recent vote to leave the EU that has endangered the existing free movement of labour within the European Economic Area (EEA). If this is ended, EEA staff will be drawn under the Points-Based Immigration Scheme, meaning that they will be subject to the same continual visa restrictions, employer-sponsorship arrangements, etc., that our international colleagues face. Similar barriers will likely be placed on UK nationals living in or moving to the EEA.
Goldsmiths UCU believes that ending freedom of movement of labour would represent a significant worsening of the conditions of present and future EEA staff in the UK. Any restrictions on freedom of movement of labour, and our right to work without discrimination based on nationality, will put increasing competitive pressure on EEA staff, and thus affect staff as a whole and weaken our union.
Goldsmiths UCU resolves urgently to campaign for the following:
- No upper limits on the numbers of international students who wish to come to the UK and to study at universities of their choice
- the immediate removal of international students from net migration targets
- the free movement of labour and opposition to the Points-Based Immigration Scheme
- an up-front guarantee for existing EU/EEA citizens in the UK to stay here
- protection for EU research funding and EU students
- full recognition of workers’ rights throughout EU withdrawal negotiations
The branch further resolves
- to publicise the fact that this motion has been passed and encourage other UCU branches to do likewise
- to submit this motion, when passed, to the NEC of the UCU
- to liaise with other branches regarding submitting a version of this motion to UCU Congress 2017