Britain Has Its Cake And Eats It Too

Angelique's picture

International students are an important source of income to the United Kingdom, as proven by the exceedingly high fees, which can range from £10,000 to £13,000 in London. It does not end with high tuition fees, but also with tax on money spent on renting a house, paying for the tube or merely buying some university books. VAT! VAT!

However, recently we have seen that the British government wishes to make it more difficult for international students to enter the country, through either categorizing them as high risk nationalities, or introducing a cap on the number of international student visas issued. Similarly, there is talk of the post-study work visa ceasing to exist meaning graduates must leave to go back home once they have completed their degree. But wait, there is another option to returning home.

Yes we have it. If you are able to find a job related to your field of study where you are earning £20,000 a year then... STAY! The UK seems to have a love-hate relationship with international students.

Love: If you're so well-qualified, don't go home to help your own country. No, instead stay; help us!

Hate: We want to make it really hard for you to get in and then even to survive.

My Concern

Most recently in the news, we have heard of dubious colleges closing down because they do not meet the new regulations implemented by the Home Office. We are all glad to hear that genuine students are not being conned into coming to the UK for an education, before being met with substandard lecturers and facilities. None the less, what I do oppose is genuine colleges paying for the mess of others.

The government has now implemented a new law, stating that any students attending private colleges have no right to work. Sure, that would prevent genuine students from coming in on a student visa with no aims of studying. However, my concern is with genuine students who want to study and can only afford to at a private institution, but at the time wish to survive in this expensive country. What will that mean for them?

The situation is clear; students from poorer backgrounds seeking an education at an affordable rate will be deprived of the right to financially survive. They will struggle to pay rent, buy books for studying, or even to feed themselves. So what is the alternative? Stay home without an education? Come to England and be an illegal worker? Or go elsewhere?

My Question

With all this in mind, why then, after attaining a degree, do so many of us opt to stay? I know it is not the weather! The opportunities, the money, the status of being in the UK are mostly like the motives. The GBP certainly has greater value than the rupee, the naira, or the taka. Therefore, international students opt to stay, hoping to lead a reasonable life in the UK, but most importantly to send money back home to the family, to help improve their living standards.

So we work hard to develop a country that is not our own, to help our family back home. My question then (though I myself have no answer) is this: IS it justified?


Angelique is a student blogger for Foreign Students. Originally from the Seychelles, she is currently a Law student at the University of London. You can read all her older posts here.  

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