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ellen-conlon
15th October 2012

University leaders stop foreign students queuing overnight

Complaints from university leaders have led to a new ruling meaning international students will no longer have to register in person with the police. Last week foreign students were forced to queue through the night to register at a single office in south-east London within seven days of their arrival and faced “startling difficulties.” This […]
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Complaints from university leaders have led to a new ruling meaning international students will no longer have to register in person with the police.

Last week foreign students were forced to queue through the night to register at a single office in south-east London within seven days of their arrival and faced “startling difficulties.”

This was voiced in a letter to David Cameron, signed by the heads of two London institutions.

Craig Calhoun, director of the London School of Economics and Political Science, and Richard Trainor, principal of King’s College London complained to Mr Cameron that it was “impossible” for students to comply with these regulations, and that they were facing “unacceptable and humiliating” difficulties in trying to do so.

 “The police are turning away any students who arrive after 6.30am, forcing people to queue overnight… the Metropolitan Policy literally makes it impossible for most to comply,” said professors Calhoun and Trainor.

“We believe that the present situation is unacceptable and humiliating for the UK higher education sector, and indeed for the country. We hope you will do everything in your power to seek a swift resolution before it escalates into an even greater debacle.”

Daniel Stevens, international students officer for the National Union of Students filmed one of the overnight queues.

“It is absolutely unacceptable that students be asked to queue for hours, often in terrible weather, and be expected to arrive before 6.30 to have any chance of being seen,” said Mr Stevens.

But after so many complaints, starting this Monday, students will be able to register through their universities, rather than in person.

Forms can now be submitted through universities or pre-stamped forms can be collected from the Overseas Visitors Records Office and returned, completed by the end of the year.

University and College Union general secretary Sally Hunt complained about the original poor arrangements, saying that they were damaging Britain’s international reputation.

She said: “At a time when we need to be attracting the brightest brains to this country, and are already facing huge competition from other countries, we seem to be intent on committing PR disasters for the whole world to see.”

 


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