On Wednesday afternoon, the Student Representative Council (SRC) released a statement admonishing the current “trend of toxic, anti-immigrant, anti-internationalist political decisions” of the UK government.
The statement coincides with International Students’ Day in the UK, which is to be celebrated on 17 November.
Naming specific policy grievances, such as application and visa costs, this release marks one of the few occasions where the SRC has taken a stance on larger, national political issues.
SRC debated the wording and intent of the statement during one of its regular sessions on Tuesday 15 November.
The full statement can be read below or by visiting the Association Councils’ Facebook page:
A Westminster Hall debate being held in Parliament today will be focusing on the effect of the UK government’s immigration rules on international students. To highlight the importance of this area, particularly in such a diverse community as St Andrews, the SRC have made a statement on the topic.
The University of St Andrews, and universities in general, owe much of their value and their success to their diversity. Without a student or staffing body comprised of people of all races, religions, class or political allegiance, we cannot and will not achieve the level of quality – in research and personal character – to which the United Kingdom is accustomed.
By mixing, debating, and learning from those with varied views, genders, sexualities and cultural backgrounds, we become better, more rounded, more tolerant and accepting individuals. Depriving not only international students but also UK students of that experience is detrimental to all.
The current complexity of making an application for a student visa, the huge amount of time processing takes, the large cost of application, healthcare provisions and maintenance, and the poor level of service received whilst applying have all contributed to discouraging students from other countries applying to our universities. At the very least, they are left with a negative impression of our Government, a representation of the country, as a result of their experiences. Restrictions on international students working part-time to fund their living costs whilst studying and limitations on post-study visas prevent bright, capable individuals from contributing to our personal and national development.
This trend of toxic, anti-immigrant, anti-internationalist political decisions is not what we stand for, and we will oppose it at every turn. We are proud to consider ourselves citizens of the world, and the St Andrews student community will continue to welcome and value our contemporaries studying alongside us, regardless of geographical origin.