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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.

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How immigration is having an effect on education

You encounter people everyday. These people are all different; be that in height, weight, eye colour, hair colour, and so on. They may have different goals in life than you do, they may have different experiences to you and they may even be from a different nationality than you do. This is the truth of the UK today, everyone is different. The United Kingdom is one of the largest multicultural countries in the world, with its ethnic population accounting for 7.7 million of the country’s total population of 56.1 million people.

It is recorded by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), that 13% of the British population is now made up of migrants. Since 1945, immigration in the United Kingdom has increased, in particular, from the Republic of Ireland, but also from previous colonies of the British Empire such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, South Africa, Hong Kong and the Caribbean.

In December 2012, the most common non-UK country of birth for UK residents was India, hitting the chart at 729,000 Indian-born people, and, the most common non-British nationality in the UK was Polish, with 700,000 Polish nationals. The diagram below shows the bursts of non-UK born residents in different regions, along with the top five countries of birth per region.

Source: The Guardian (2011)

Source: The Guardian (2011)

The chart shows that there are 538,000 foreign nationals living in the West Midlands alone. The top five countries of birth of migrants living in the West Midlands are: Pakistan, India, Poland, Ireland and Jamaica, respectively.

This, then, proves that the people we encounter daily can also speak differently to us, they may be proficient in English, learning English as an additional language, or may not know English at all.

A secondary school teacher in Birmingham found that, in one school alone, data showed that 98% of students had English as an additional language.

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.

The National Association for Langauge Development in the Curriculum (NALDIC) have reported that: 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.

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.

Mijan Rahman, a student from Bangladesh speaks on his experience in studying in the UK, and how he felt compelled to work two jobs to pay his university fees, following with enrolling onto an additional course to extend his study visa.

Originally coming to the UK to study Business Management at Aston University, Mijan said: “I had come here on a student visa 9 years ago, once my degree finished I started another course; so I would be able to extend my student visa. I had provided evidence that I was still studying.”

Previously working at McDonalds alone, Mijan added: “I did not want to take out a loan as I knew it would be difficult to pay off.

“My visa got extended as I started another course, but my financial problems increased as I was finding it more difficult to pay my university fees. So I got a second job at Morrison’s to help me survive.”

Reflecting on his experience as a student, Mijan said: “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.”

Now 29-years-old, Mijan has been able to obtain a British passport after marrying his girlfriend, who is a British national. He has found a job, and together with his wife, lives in London with their three month old baby boy.

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.

A combined example of work and study can be taken from Hamdan Khan. Originally from Saudi Arabia, Hamdan moved to the UK in 2007. He 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.”

Moving to the UK with his mother and younger sister, Hamdan said: “I didn’t have any difficulties in speaking English because in Saudi Arabia we studied in an English medium school.”

By completing his A levels in the UK, the university in which he enrolled to, classified him as a national student, and therefore, he was charged the national fee for studying his course in the UK.

However, 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.

Data reported by gov.uk, found that there has been a decline in the number of study visas issued by the government, for the third year running.

In 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 to Pakistani and Indian nationals whilst there were increases from other nationalities. These included a 3% increase for Chinese nationals and Libyan nationals who were up nearly three-fold (+277%).

Despite the slow decline in study visas issues, there was a 5% increase in student visitor visas issued 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.

Are foreign nationals who migrate to the UK in search of a better life, then, ‘taking our’ jobs? In November 2013, The Telegraph reported that a government-backed study found one in fifth jobs in key industries are being filled by migrants, for the sole reason that there is an apparent lack of skilled British individuals searching for employment.

The report also gives statistics from the Office for National Statistics which shows that the number of foreign nationals finding jobs in the UK had increased by 225,000 to 4.26  million in a year, as opposed to a rise of just 192,000 British-born workers.

In addition, temporary work restrictions for Romanian and Bulgarian migrants have been lifted as of 1st January 2014. This could pose an increase in people immigrating from Romania and Bulgaria in the search for work.

An Arabian student starts a photography business at 18 years to pay university fees.


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Hamdan Khan (24 years old), a graduate from 2013 at Birmingham City University talks about his journey from moving to the UK on his mothers work permit in 2007 to gain A levels and a degree to pursue his passion in photography.

Moving to the UK with his mother and younger sister, he shares his struggles on surviving daily life with his family and having to pay university fees. To the point where no income was coming in to the household

He shares how he started his own photography business at the age of 18 years to become the breadwinner of the family.

University Of Birmingham to enroll the most international students

 

  Capture

The University of Birmingham have more international students than any other university in the West Midlands according to recent data by the Higher Education statistics agency (HESA).

The data shows numbers of students who are studying at Aston University, Birmingham City University, The University of Birmingham, and University College Birmingham.

The figures are categorised as students from the UK, other European Union students and Non- European- Union students and the total amount of undergraduate students studying at these four institutions.

This chart shows that that University of Birmingham has the most enrolled students who are from other European Unions and the most enrolled student from Non- European Unions. With just about one third of international students compared to University College Birmingham and Birmingham city.

 

Study visas to the UK continue to decline

Long-term trends in student immigration

The number of study visas (excluding student visitors) issued by government have declined for a third year data has revealed.

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 to Pakistani 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. 

DATA: Most migrants come to the UK to work or study

A 2012 International Passenger Survey (IPS) conducted by the Office of National Statistics found the given reasons to why people migrate to the UK.

Figure 1: 2012 inflow of those coming to the UK for a given purpose (EU nationals excluding British)

EU nationals purpose of migrating

Figure 2: 2012 inflow of those coming to the UK for a given purpose (Non-EU nationals)

Non-EU nationals purpose of migrating

The two charts show the inflow of those migrating to the UK in 2012, and their given purpose.

Figure 1 shows a greater emphasis of EU nationals (excluding British) arriving in the UK for work purposes, whilst figure 2 is heavier for Non-EU nationals migrating to study in the UK.

Figure 3: 2012 inflow of those coming to UK for a given purpose (all nationalities)

all nationals migrating to UK

Figure 3 shows the inflow of all nationalities coming to the UK for a given purpose. This shows that work and study are equally weighted reasons for people migrating to the UK.

AUDIO: University Lecturer on being a former international student

A university lecturer at Coventry University, expresses his views on student immigration having spent 10 years within the UK on a student visa, moving from one university to another it was not an easy time for him. However he is now reflecting on that period of time, and comparing to how international students have to deal with student visa’s.

“98% of students have English as an additional language” says teacher

“98% of students have English as an additional language” according to secondary school teacher Jo Fairclough.

Jo, a teacher in Birmingham, makes the claim after data was released to teachers at the school where she works.

“This included students who had only recently arrived to the UK and spoke little or no English” she added.

A 2012 school census found that in the West Midlands alone there were 51,810 secondary school pupils out of a total of 358,855, whose first language is known or believed to be other than English.

Jo, a history teacher in Birmingham, said: “Communication is more difficult in these situations.

“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.”

Schools have been directly funded by the government for EAL (English as an Additional Language) support since 1966.

However, it is reported by the National Association for Language Development in the Curriculum (NALDIC) that from April 2013 an ‘EAL’ factor can be included into school funding with a condition that bilingual pupils have enrolled to English schools for a maximum of 3 years.

Alongside EAL support, Jo said: “It is always important to use visual prompts during the lesson, for example, using a pen on a PowerPoint slide to show a writing task, an ear when students needed to listen.”

She added: “I think spoken English is picked up more quickly as students are immersed in the spoken language as soon as they arrive in the UK.

“Students who are fluent in speaking English may still show issues with written tasks, so it’s important to use visual prompts.”

A 2012 survey report by the NASUWT union, found that the decrease of school funding allocated for EAL support imposed a risk to significant cuts in the number of specialist teachers and support staff.

5 questions on immigration YOU should know the answers to

Overview

Immigration is almost always in the news, leading people to build various assumptions on the subject – but what are the facts?

Since 1945, immigration in the United Kingdom has increased, in particular, from the Republic of Ireland, but also from previous colonies of the British Empire such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, South Africa, Hong Kong and the Caribbean.

Source: Office for National Statistics

Source: Office for National Statistics

The Figures

The latest data, gathered in December 2012, shows:

  • Around 13% of the British population is now made up of immigrants.
  • 7.7 million of UK residents are born abroad, of those; 5 million came from outside the EU, and 2.6 million from within the EU. (see figure 1)
  • The most common non-UK country of birth for UK residents was India, hitting the chart at 729,000 Indian-born people. (see figure 2)
  • The most common non-British nationality in the UK was Polish, with 700,000 Polish nationals. (see figure 3)

Figure 1: non-UK born population resident in the United Kingdom, calendar years 2008-2012

FIGURE1

Figure 2: Five most common non-UK countries of birth in the United Kingdom in 2012, calendar years 2008-2012

figure2

Figure 3: Five most common non-British nationalities in the United Kingdom in 2012, calendar years 2008-2012

figure3

1) Why do people migrate to 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.

2) Where do they live?

The diagram below shows the number, in thousands, of non-UK born residents in different regions and, also, the top five countries of birth per region.

Source: The Guardian (2011)

Source: The Guardian (2011)

3) Are foreign nationals ‘taking’ our jobs?

This seems to be a debate which causes heated discussions on many online sites, as well as well in person.

In November 2013, The Telegraph reported that a government-backed study found one in fifth jobs in key industries are being filled by migrants, for the sole reason that there is an apparent lack of skilled British individuals searching for employment.

The report also gives statistics from the Office for National Statistics which shows that the number of foreign nationals finding jobs in the UK had increased by 225,000 to 4.26  million in a year, as opposed to a rise of just 192,000 British-born workers.

In addition, temporary work restrictions for Romanian and Bulgarian migrants have been lifted as of 1st January 2014. This could pose an increase in people immigrating from Romania and Bulgaria in the search for work.

4) Are foreign nationals working same jobs for less pay than British nationals?

The minimum wage currently in the United Kingdom is £6.31 per hour.  Although it is illegal for employers to pay any less than the minimum wage, there have been cases reported by the BBC where foreign nationals are paid much less for their labour.

5) Can immigrants claim welfare benefits whilst living in the UK?

If immigrants have a residence permit which allows them to live in the UK, it may include the condition that they are unable to claim most public funds such as benefits, tax credits and housing assistance.

However, there are exceptions to this condition and, with a call to HM Revenues and Customs, immigrants can receive advice on which benefits they are entitled to claim and how.

Recent news by The Independent reported Boris Johnson had called for a two year gap between the arrival of immigrants, and the time when they can start claiming welfare benefits.

Mr Johnson said: “If you want to come and work here you can do that but there should be a period before which you can claim all benefits and it seems entirely reasonable to me that they should extend that to two years.”