The Hostile Environment: Policing International Students

Vivek Santayana | October 23, 2017
International students have a lot of hoops to jump through. In keeping with its sponsorship requirements, the university has been monitoring my attendance to all my classes very strictly ever since I was an undergraduate. I am required to attend a census of students on a Tier 4 visa every couple of months. I have had to pay £700 upfront as a mandatory NHS surcharge as part of my visa application. Moreover, landlords in England are required to check the immigration status of their tenants prior to letting to them. This hasn’t yet been rolled out to Scotland officially yet, but that doesn’t stop letting agencies from asking me to give proof of my immigration status, arbitrarily charging me twice the stipulated deposit on a flat, or simply choosing to let to a British citizen instead to avoid any hassle. Starting January 2018, banks will start monitoring accounts and freezing those held by people whom the Home Office identifies as overstayers. All of this is in line with the Home Office’s policy to create a ‘hostile environment’ for immigrants in order to curb irregular migration.

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