Profile: Nazek Ramadan, editor and chief of Migrant Voice.

Director of Mirgrant Voice, Nazek Ramadan won The London Migrant and Refugee Women of the Year award in 2012. In addition to this, Nazek is also the found ‘The New Londonders’ – the first refugee newspaper in London.

When she and her family fled Lebonon in 1986, Nazek became involved in volunteering when she arrived in the UK. One of her first challenges when arriving in the UK was to learn English, which she did by watching children’s television which is still advice she others now.

Nazeks first few year in London were not easy. Even after learning English and getting a job she found she was still not accepted. Nazek realised there was no platform for migrants to discuss being a migrant in the UK.

In 2007, she launched ‘The New Londoners’ newspaper which followed in the traditional London freesheets style. With ‘The New Londoners’ newspaper, Nazek succeeded in getting migrant voices and issue in front on London commuters.

Following the success of The New Londonders, Nazek then founded Migrant Voice in 2010. An organisation dedicated to addressing the lack of representation of migrant in the mainstream media.

Migrant Voice provides platforms for members of the migrant community, especially those whose voices are not usually heard. The organisations encourages them to express their views of issues affecting the way they live in the UK.
Projects that the organisation work on includes the Face2Face project which aims to break down negative stereotypes of immigrants in the UK and improve the public perception of migrants. Other projects include the Engaging Picture project which aims to improve participants skills in communication and their overall strategic messaging around migration.

Nazeks Migration Voice is a great platform for immigrants to vice there own concerns with how they are personally being treated in the UK in a time when government immigration policies are being heavily criticised.


FOI Request: A number of 30 EU students have had funding approved, then made eligible by Student Finance 

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The Student Loans Company Limited (“SLC”) hold information in scope of funding withdrawn for EU students, by HEI. The number of students who had funding approved, then made ineligible (withdrawn) is 30.

Regarding an FOI request The Students Loans Company claimed “We do not hold data for international students paying international student fees, as these students do not qualify for student support”.

It is noted that the term “ineligible” is an interpretation of student finance being “withdrawn”, which is different to where students withdraw from their course and their entitlement to student finance is re-assessed.

“Our systems do not record the specific reason why funding has been withdrawn, however I can confirm that an individual can be made ineligible for a number of reasons, including: Personal or course eligibility requirements not being. Arrears on previous student loan. Individuals have shown themselves by their conduct to be unfitted to receive support” added the Students Loan Company.

Academics facing pressures in policing their foreign students

160 academic institutions have recently protested about feeling under pressure to check the accountability of their foreign students.

The letter said, “British universities have been positioned as central culprits for failing to regulate their intake of foreign students”.

According to, the UK has been dubbed as the second most popular destination for international students. Student visas offer a way for immigrants to legally study at British universities and it has been found that they are increasing in popularity. This is found to be especially prominent in Chinese nationals.

Figure 1: Top ten nationalities issued study visas (excluding student visas), 2013

immigration-statistics5-q4-2013 - nationality numbers - Copy (2)



The Home Office is putting more pressure on academic institutions to police the details of immigrants who wish to study in the UK. Universities such as Oxford, Warwick, Durham and Sheffield have spoken up about feeling used as a continuation of the work that UK Border Police undertake.

The issue of immigration is currently one of the most hotly debated topics in the United Kingdom to date. It is also a widely known fact that immigrants come into the country for a ‘better life’. They believe that the UK offers better opportunities in the areas of education and work.


Objections against enforced policing


Mette Berg of the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology at Oxford University said, “We have a duty of care towards our students, and there is an issue about this undermining the trust between tutor and student”.

The objections that were included in the letter were that universities were being taken advantage of by the Home Office. This is because it has requested that universities use their pastoral care to monitor student attendance and meetings with tutors.

In the letter, universities have accused the Home Office of treating non-EU students differently from UK and EU students. Monitoring foreign student’s behaviour was another grievance that was mentioned. Universities have accused the Home Office of forcing academic institutions to monitor non-academic undertakings and reporting these findings to the Home Office.


Enforcing rules for foreigners wishing to study in the UK


In 1996, in Section 11 of the Local Government Act, a law was passed which stipulated that funds would be made available to meet the needs of immigrants who are currently residing in the UK. The law specifically mentioned that the funds will support people with different language or customs from that of the UK.

Despite this law, a Home Office spokesperson stated that the student visa application process was re-evaluated to be made more vigorous and less open to abuse.

There have been accusations made that immigrants have been taking advantage of the British law system. The NHS for instance, is a prime example. The Queen’s Speech in late 2013 stipulated the end of immigrants taking advantage of the service.


Academic institutions protest against being used


Universities pride themselves as independent institutions. Oxford, Warwick, Durham and Sheffield universities have accused the Home Office of “undermining the autonomy and academic freedom of UK universities and their students”.

The stronger enforcements introduced by the Home Office has been in response to London Metropolitan University’s misdemeanour. The university temporarily lost its sponsor status in 2012. The new changes have also been made in response to higher education institutions becoming increasingly dependent on foreign students. This is due to the fees that they provide British universities. In terms of the UK economy, immigrants currently contribute £13bn.

Nicola Pratt from Warwick University stated that, “It is a major concern that the government is targeting overseas students as a way of meeting immigration targets”. Pratt also said, “These students are investing a huge amount into the higher education system”.

Alice Sachrajda, a Research Fellow at IPPR stated that, “The reduction in foreign student numbers is being driven by the net migration target, which is designed to meet the public’s concern about high immigration”.

Large numbers of foreigners arriving in short periods of time has been seen as a valid policy objective by the government to diminish the number of immigrants entering the country. This is to reduce pressures on communities in the country.


Why foreign students are attracted to the UK


Immigrants are attracted to studying in the UK, as it offers “a better quality of education” according to Immigration Matters. Since 1966, the British government has been supporting the English as an Additional Language (EAL) scheme. In addition, the Ethnic Minority Achievement Grant (EMAG) was issued to educational authorities in the country. These laws have made coming to the UK a very attractive option for foreigners.


What the 160 academic institutions propose

The letter produced by the 160 academics requests the end of  institutional immigration checks. It asks for their non-EU students to be treated respectfully and equally. Universities UK has also been requested to speak out on behalf of British universities against monitoring foreign students.

Rising numbers of immigrants want to gain an education in the UK

A recent study carried out by has shown that student visas are steadily increasing in number.

According to the study, student visa applications have risen by 4% in 2013, with 210,102 immigrants applying applying to study in the UK. This is of a similar number to 2012’s study, where 210,109 immigrants applied to study in the United Kingdom

The study has also shown that there has been a 7% rise in student visas in regards to the university sector.

Multi-culturism is increasing

These results indicate that multi-culturism is clearly on the rise in the UK. A study carried out by the Office of National Statistics has shown that London and the West Midlands are currently the most ethnically diverse hotspots in Britain. According to Immigration Matters, international students choose to study in the UK because there is a better quality of education available in the country.

The topic of immigration is mainly seen as having a strong negative impact on the UK and its economy. However, foreign students are attracted to studying in the UK because of the educational opportunities that it provides. The study has also shown that study related visas have been especially popular amongst Chinese with a 9% increase, Brazilian nationals with a 147% increase and Malaysian nationals with a 24% increase in visa issues.



Long form: Student Immigration (Creatavist)


Long Form: How Immigration affects Education

There are many reason why people from all over the world come to the UK to look for a better life, be it to escape famine in their own countries or to gain access to a better quality of education and healthcare.

The Office for National Statistics recorded that at least 13% of The British population consists of migrants, with the most common non-UK country of birth being India. Yet the most common of non-British nationality being Polish with 700,000 Polish nationals currently living in the UK.


According to a report (PDF) published in 2007 by The London School of Economics and Political Science, the majority of people who move to the UK do so “for work, refuge, stimulus, profit, personal development and pleasure”.

They believe the United Kingdom can offer themselves, and their families, better education, healthcare, and work opportunities.

Mijan Rahman is one student who travelled from Bangladesh to the UK to undertake a degree at Aston University.

Moving from Bangladesh to the UK I knew after I completed my degree I wanted to live in the UK. I knew if I went back to my country all this hard work will go to waste. The job prospects are very low there; in the UK I have more opportunities.”

With high expectations of living life as a student, Mijan soon found that he would need to take up a part time job in order to pay his university fees.

He added “I wasn’t enjoying my experience as much, I didn’t get to live the ‘free’ student life that others were living. Although I couldn’t complain much as my life here was better than in Bangladesh.”

Determined not to go back to Bangladesh, Mijan soon started another course after his first had finished so he was able to stay in the UK on a student visa.

Now 29, Mijan is happily married and currently living in London “After struggling alone with my financial issues and re-applying for student visas, my life is now on the right track. I got through my degree alone; got married with no family around and now have a baby to look after.”

Mijan was lucky enough to be given a study Visa as recent data has revealed that The number of study visas (excluding student visitors) issued by government have declined for a third year.

In the calender year 2012 the amount of international students who successfully received a study visa had fallen 21(211,000) since 2011 and a further 5% (-9,750) in the year ending June 2013 (204,469).


These trends indicate study-related visas issued, admissions and long-term immigration have all continued to fall, though less quickly then previously.

The 9,750 (-5%) was more then account for by falls in student visas issued toPakistani and Indian nationals whilst there were increases from other nationalities. These included a 3% increase for Chinese nationals and Libyan nationals which was up nearly three-fold (+277%).

Despite the slow decline in study visas issues, there was a 5% increase in student visitor visas issues in the year ending June 2013. Visitor visas allow students to stay in the UK for 6 months (11 months for English Language Schools) and cannot extend their visas.

A 2012 International Passenger Survey (IPS) conducted by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) found that the majority (64%) of EU nationals migrating to the UK did so to work, whilst, the majority (59%) of non-EU nationals were migrating to the UK to study. Figures obtained for all nationalities, showed that work and study were the top two reasons people gave when migrating.

Hamdan Khan is an example of these two reasons. Coming to the UK in 2007 from Saudi Arabia, Hamdan completed his A levels and graduated from studying a degree in Photography and Video at Birmingham City University in 2013.

The reason for me to move to the United Kingdom was because the education system in Saudi Arabia wasn’t as good.”

Because Hamdan completed his A-levels in the UK, he was classed a UK national when he appiled for university. Therefore he was charged the national fee for a UK student studying at university.

Not wanting to take out a student loan in the fear that he will not be able to pay it back, Hamdan relied on financial support from his fathers’ business and also started to work part time at a newsagent to cover the cost for studying in the UK. Having been interested in photography and video, Hamdan also started a freelance business of his own.

After financial support from his fathers’ business became low due to losses, Hamdan said: “I had to work full time as a photographer and my mother worked in the newsagent, also full time.

We struggled but we still paid for our university, and our daily needs.” He added.

You only have to walk through the grounds of a university to find out just how multicultural education in the UK has become. Be it, in the canteen, the library, the students’ union, or just the person sitting next to you in a lecture on Computer Engineering, universities are laced with international students from all over the world.

It is not just universities that have seen an increase in international students A secondary school teacher in Birmingham found that, in one school alone, data showed that 98% of students had English as an additional language.

A History teacher in Birmingham, Jo Fairclough, said: “This included students who had only recently arrived to the UK and spoke little or no English.

Communication is more difficult in these situations.”

Recent data by the National Association for Language Development in the Curriculum (NALDIC) found that the number of pupils who have, or are learning, English as an Additional Language (EAL) has increased by half a million in the last 15 years.

Jo added: “However there are EAL support teachers which help.

The role of an EAL support teacher is to prepare relevant resources on a student’s home language.”

The government has been backing project in English as an Additional Language since, as early as, 1966, and there are around 246 support teachers employed to meet the needs of EAL pupils in the West Midlands.

In 1966, Section 11 of the Local Government Act made funds available ‘to help meet the special needs of a significant number of people of commonwealth origin with language or customs which differ from the rest of the community. This included funding to support the education of EAL and bilingual learners.

In 1999, the Ethnic Minority Achievement Grant (EMAG) was distributed to local authorities on a formula basis. The formula related to the number of EAL learners and the number of pupils from ‘underachieving’ minority ethnic groups in local authorities.

The purpose of this grant was to enable strategic managers in schools to narrow achievement gaps and ensure equality of outcomes, and, also to meet the costs of some of the additional support in place for the specific needs of bilingual learners and ‘under-achieving’ pupils. Each local authority was required to devolve the bulk of this funding to schools, and spending of this grant was restricted to the purposes outlined.

Despite significant opposition, the Ethnic Minority Achievement Grant (EMAG) was mainstreamed into the Direct Schools Grant (DSG) in 2011, and schools were allowed complete freedom over how they chose to use it.

In 2013, the revised schools funding reform mentioned that an ‘EAL factor’ can be included in local funding formulae for schools. However, this factor would be limited to bilingual pupils who have been enrolled to English schools for a maximum of 3 years. Local schools authorities could also decide: whether to include an EAL factor in their formula; whether this factor will ‘count’ bilingual pupils who have been enrolled in a school in England for one, two or three years and the cash value of this factor for primary aged pupils and for secondary aged pupils. There is also no accountability mechanism in place to observe how schools make use of this funding.


Community Center’s for different ethic groups around Birmingham

bengali center2

Bengali Association Midland Center


Afro-Caribbean Millennium Center – Off Dudley Road, Winson Green


Afro-Caribbean Millennium center


Dudley Road – Afro-Caribbean Millnemium Center

bengali centre1

Bengali association center – Winson Green


Bengali Association Midlands

CHART: UCAS Region of Residence Overseas Applicants for the past 5 Years

past 5 years


These series of  charts show the students applying for acceptance in UK university for the past five years. From the chart we see that Applicants from Nigeria (Dark Blue) have the least amount of applicants applying over the past five years. It is also interesting to note that the numbers of Nigerian students applying for UK university has dropped since 2009. China (Red) has consistently had the most applicants over the years. As well as growing more rapidly in growth between 2009-2012 however numbers had dropped in 2013. Hong Kong has had the most growth with having 3586 students applying in 2009 and 6780 students applying in 2013 that is a 3194 difference. This growth may be down to Hong Kong’s growing idependence and ecomony.

Staggering increase in Chinese nationals who wish to study in the UK

Cross post: When it comes to the hostile environment, we really are all in this together

Kiri Kankhwende, a Special Projects and Development Manager at Media Diversified, kindly allowed Immigration and Services to repost her feature which was recently published on the Huffington Post website. Her feature talks about what is currently wrong with the issue of immigration and the wider effects on UK citizens and foreign students and workers in the UK.

When it comes to the hostile environment, we really are all in this together

One of the familiar gripes of those opposed to immigration is that we don’t talk about it; but if you’re a migrant, it feels like we do little else. Early February show on Channel 5, the Big British Immigration Row, sums up everything that’s wrong with the current discourse on immigration: lots of heat and very little light.

The lack of an informed debate means that a lot of issues that should get discussed and that affect everyone, not just migrants, get overlooked. Worse still, government efforts to create a “hostile environment” for irregular migrants risks driving a wedge of suspicion into communities and dragging a lot of ordinary people into a net of surveillance.

The touchstone of the strategy is the Immigration Bill, which is currently working its way through parliament. In addition to worrying provisions such as restricting access to appeals on immigration decisions, it seeks to restrict the access of irregular migrants to healthcare, private housing, bank accounts and driving licenses. What this means in practice is that ordinary people, for example landlords, will be required to act as border agents in order to conduct new checks on immigration documentation. In addition to the prospect of shutting irregular migrants out of housing and leaving them open to exploitation, this could lead to discrimination against migrants more generally too.

Another well-worn argument of those opposed to immigration is that race is no longer a factor to consider. But with the privatisation of immigration checks there is a real possibility that ethnic minority British citizens, who are more likely to be considered foreign, will also be discriminated against. To a certain extent that’s already happening – BBC’s Inside Out programme in October 2013 found routine discrimination against Black people by letting agents in the private rental market – a situation which will likely be exacerbated by the new regulations. Charities have raised these sorts of concerns since the Bill was first proposed, and the UN Refugee Agency has warned of the risk of creating a “climate of ethnic profiling.” Unlike employers, private landlords don’t have Human Resources departments to help them understand immigration documentation, so it’s down to their judgment and whether they consider renting to a migrant is worth the effort – no oversight, no checks and balances.

If you think this won’t affect you, it’s worth considering the implications on wider society of getting citizens to monitor one another. You may not be a landlord, employer or otherwise likely to be in a position to make immigration checks on another person, but you could still be affected. In order to avoid discrimination, efficiency and common sense suggests immigration checks for all. I remember the anti-ID card campaign under Labour – roundly rejected then by the majority of the public but now creeping in through the back door. I also remember my disappointment when I learned that the campaign against ID cards had succeeded, but that ID cards would be retained for categories of migrants. Once that was established, it was only a matter of time before it was rolled out into all categories of non-EU migration. So, how long until it is recommended for everyone else?

As much as politicians try to divide communities, it’s clear that when it comes to the unacceptable intrusion of immigration legislation into the private sphere, we really are all in it together. There are real concerns that people will be locked out of vital services. The nature of these changes have the potential to impact community relations, sowing the seeds for a climate of suspicion in which the assumption of criminality is the norm in such simple acts of everyday business such as opening a bank account or renting a house.

Even if you think the aims of the Bill are justified (and I for one do not), the impact will not only be felt by irregular migrants – though they are at the sharp end of this; the hostile environment will touch us all, and we have to ask if this is the sort of climate we all want to live in.