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Posted on 18 September 2012 at 15:47 GMT

Stop the deportation of London Met students

Students demonstrated outside London Metropolitan University on Friday against the disgraceful threatened deportation of over 2,000 international students.

The UK Border Agency (UKBA) announced plans two weeks ago to send students back to their home countries after alleging that many were using the university to get visas and not actually studying.

The students held a rally outside the university with speakers from UCU (lecturers' union), Unison (public sector workers' union), Youth Fight for Jobs and Education, and the students facing deportation themselves.

There was great anger shown from the speakers and the chants on the demo, against the Con-Dem government and Home Secretary Theresa May.

But New Labour have hardly shown opposition. In fact it is some of their racist, anti-immigration laws that are being used against the students!

International students who are not accepted onto courses at other institutions have been told by UKBA that they have 60 days before they must leave the country. Socialist Students and Youth fight for Jobs participated in the demo explaining that in order to stop this, a mass campaign is needed including students from London Met but also other universities as well.

The demonstration was great for building confidence but what is needed next is walkouts, occupations, further demonstrations and even strike action from staff at the university who will inevitably face job cuts if the students are deported.

Wyllie Hume

Cardiff

International students and supporters in Cardiff demonstrated outside Border Agency offices on Friday against the Agency's threat to deport students at London Metropolitan University.

This was in support of a day of action called by London Met Students Union and trade unions UCU and Unison, and supported by NUS and Youth Fight for Jobs.

International students create 9,000 jobs in the Welsh economy and contribute to the longstanding international diversity of the country. Last year, Cardiff Lord Mayor Delme Bowen called on international students to "get involved in the life of the city".

But recent rules changes imposed by Home Secretary Theresa May have meant students from outside the EU, who pay tens of thousands of pounds a year in tuition fees, find it harder to start courses in the UK, harder to continue their studies and harder to apply those skills in the place they acquire them.

Dr Edmund Schluessel, an international student who recently completed a doctorate in theoretical physics in Cardiff, said:

"I'm a highly-skilled worker. I want to become a teacher and give back to the country where I studied. Why is the government turning its nose up at international students when we contribute so much?"
Dr Schluessel is also the NUS Wales International Students Officer.

The UKBA suspended London Metropolitan University's right to bring international students to the UK amid unspecified allegations of wrongdoing on the university's part. 2,600 international students studying at London Met now face the risk of being deported by December in what could be the biggest single deportation in UK history.

Students are demanding an "amnesty", letting the London Met students complete their studies, a removal of international students from the net migration count, and an end to the cuts, privatisation and marketisation of education which has put pressure on universities to treat students as cash cows instead of individuals.

Cardiff Socialist Party

Manchester: "U.K.B.A. - Deportation No Way!"

Forty students from Manchester's universities demonstrated on Wednesday 12 September against the government-inspired threatened deportation of international students at London Metropolitan University (LMU).

The protest, organised by Manchester University Student Union diversity officer Saad Wahid, demanded that the UK Border Agency and government stop victimising international students.

LMU students should be allowed to take up their places, international students should be allowed to seek employment without the need to have a sponsor, and should no longer be counted in the immigration statistics.

Saad said:

"We are deeply concerned about the impact of this detrimental decision. We are days away from the start of a new academic year and as some students prepare to learn, others are in a position where they will have to find alternative places to study - or worse still, be deported.

"Around the country, international students make a positive impact on campus, in their local community, towards debate and towards the economy.

"This protest will show our support to those in London and the unsurpassable energy and dedication the student movement is capable of mustering when members of our community require it".

Manchester Socialist Party supported the demonstration, bringing solidarity greetings, and also getting support from the PCS union British Council branch.

The protest will be followed up by a meeting on 28 September to develop the campaign, for more information contact Saad on saad.wahid@manchester.ac.uk

Hugh Caffrey

This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 18 September 2012 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.

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