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31st October 2023

International student check-ins set to continue until the end of the academic year

Temporary changes to international student check-ins set to continue for the foreseeable future
International student check-ins set to continue until the end of the academic year
Bus stop outside the UoM SU. Credit: Anonymous @ The Mancunion.

In-person visa checks currently in place for international students will continue for the entirety of the 2023/24 academic year, The Mancunion can exclusively reveal.

Short-term fixes such as QR codes or PINs in lecture theatres are set to be introduced in September 2024 at the earliest, an interview with the Students’ Union’s Activities and Culture Officer has revealed.

This news comes despite the checks being described as “temporary” by the School of Social Sciences earlier this month.

International students have been introduced to a new system of on-campus check-ins, which began this September. This includes those on a student or Tier 4 visa.

Students are required to check in to all of their academic sessions, as well as twice a week on campus, at one of nine check-in desks.

A third-year international student told The Mancunion the checks feel “very intrusive” and “take up a lot of time.”

The same student told The Mancunion there had been no communication from the University about how long the twice-weekly check-ins will go on.

Attendance checks are required by UK Visas and Immigration to ensure international students are attending classes and fulfilling the terms of their visa.

Other universities, such as the University of Glasgow, require students to check in outside of course attendance monitoring, but only twice during the academic year.

Questions have previously been raised at the Student’s Union as to whether the checks constitute “over-compliance” with government policy.

Check-ins were in place at the University in previous academic years, however, they have become more visible and regular on campus since September.

The University claims that the change in the check-in process for international students is due to the recent cyber incident, which led to university systems such as MyManchester being out of use for several months.

The University’s website reads “[d]ue to the recent cyber incident, our process to register attendance is currently more manual than we would like.”

The Students’ Union are currently developing a survey, which is expected to go live next week, to better understand students’ experiences of the system. They are also continuing to urge the University for clearer timelines and communication.

If you would like to know more about the new check-in system, visit the Immigration and Visas section of the University’s website.

Jake Aldridge

Jake Aldridge

Deputy Investigations Editor 23/24

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