About 2 years ago, NWAMI took a delegation of International students from Bangor University to the Houses of Parliament. This was to give a chance to these students to raise the issues they face as an International student in the UK starting from the visa process to the graduation and even after graduation, in terms of Post Study Work (PSW) Visa. Along with several other newspapers nationwide, The North Wales Chronicle printed the following article:
Dr Sibani Roy, chair of NWAMI, gave a speech in Houses of Parliament to explain the purpose of the gathering, which was to offer students and others an opportunity to have face to face dialogues with politicians and diplomats on matters such as integration of International Students within the UK (Higher Education) society, starting with Entry to the UK: discuss and clarify the visa system, including stay after graduation, access to work placement/further studies, and what happens after Brexit? And any other question they want to ask.
This event started a chain of seminars and discussion forums for PSW visas with official replies from the Home Office reassuring NWAMI that work is being done on the matter.
During the Seminar titled “Where next for UK Immigration Policy?” held on 15th March 2018, there was a lot of discussions on International students by some speakers particularly by Sarah Stevens, Head of Policy from the Russel Group. NWAMI works very closely with Further and Higher Educational Institutions, and links like these allowed us to push for PSW visas with a great pressure.
The news finally came after 2 years of struggle by NWAMI, on 11th September 2019, that "International students will be allowed to stay in the UK for two years after graduation to find a job, under new proposals announced by the Home Office." This was a big win for NWAMI and International students. This will allow International students graduating in summer 2021 to apply for a PSW visa. However, this came in as a disappointment for current International students as they would not be able to take advantage of the policy, under the first release, after all their struggles.
NWAMI has since took it on this as its priority to campaign for a more fairer policy so that current students in the UK can apply for PSW visa after their graduation in summer 2020. NWAMI's avid supporter Mr. Amr Alwishah from Imperial College London organised a letter that was signed by 30 institutions addressed to the UK government, which can be found at the link here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Z3XZaYiFcc7tn_INcoCkKhF_QJDjN2HkqLuy8n4LDIA/edit
NWAMI will continue to fight for International students whether current or prospective, as we believe they are a vital source of new talent that is much needed in the UK economy to continue to grow exponentially, plus they also come as unspoken ambassadors of multiculturalism and integration i.e. the core values of NWAMI.
Published: 21st November, 2019
Author: Raja Asad