May 28, 2023

Tory Government Imposes Discriminatory Ban on International Student Dependents

THE Indian Workers' Association - Great Britain strongly condemns the discriminatory ban imposed by the Tory government on international student dependents, which is racist, divisive, and sexist.

The recent announcement made by Home Secretary Suella Braverman further penalises the international student community. These students already face exorbitant university fees, exploitation in terms of housing and employment, and full healthcare payments, despite rarely accessing such services, after paying substantial amounts for their visas to enter the country.

This ban will disproportionately affect students from India and Nigeria, who have filled the gap left by Chinese students. Unfortunately, these students have already experienced racism due to the hostile environment created by the Tory government in Britain.

The decision announced on Tuesday by Suella Braverman, to prevent students from being joined by their dependents as they progress in their studies starting from January 2024, is divisive and puts unnecessary pressure on families.

This calculated step aims to manipulate immigration numbers in preparation for the 2024 election. The government expects immigration to the UK to rise from 500,000 in June 2022 to 700,000 by June this year, based on data from the Centre for Policy Studies.

According to Home Secretary Braverman, this ban supposedly strikes "the right balance between acting decisively on tackling net migration and protecting the economic benefits that students can bring to the UK." However, Braverman conveniently ignores the fact that international students contribute £41.9 billion annually to the UK economy. Data from UK universities support the argument that the economic benefits provided by international students far outweigh the costs.

This hostile action by the home secretary, in collaboration with the department of education and the treasury, exemplifies the desperate attempt by the declining Tory government to secure its diminishing voter base by resorting to divisive and outdated policies.

The Indian Workers' Association calls for solidarity with international students and opposes these draconian measures. The IWA firmly believes that international students bring valuable skills, knowledge, and make significant financial contributions to the UK economy, and therefore, they should be warmly welcomed.

International students facing financial hardship, especially in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, should be allowed to work for more than the current limit of 20 hours without the threat of deportation or exploitation by employers.

The IWA acknowledges that these recent announcements are just the beginning, as the government prepares to implement further measures, including cracking down on unscrupulous education agents (reminiscent of the TOEIC scandal under Theresa May as home secretary), reviewing maintenance requirements for students and dependents (with a likely increase in costs), and preventing students from transferring from the student route to work.