Only British, Irish or qualifying Commonwealth citizens can vote in elections to the UK Parliament, meaning scores of EU and international students will not be able to vote in the forthcoming general election.
Manifestos published by NUS UK, NUS Scotland, NUS Wales and NUS USI, call for political parties to support a raft of policy proposals that would improve the lives on international students choosing to study in the UK. Policy proposals include:
- A fair immigration system for all migrants, with an expedited legal guarantee of a post-study work visa lasting at least two years for international students;
- Abolition of the health surcharge levied on international students;
- Protection of inward and outward mobility post-Brexit, with participation in Erasmus+ or any successor schemes
Latest statistics from UCAS show that over 500,000 international students study in the UK every year. From diversifying our campuses, revitalising our communities and contributing to the social fabric of our society, international students contribute massively to UK higher and further education.
Commenting, NUS UK President Zamzam Ibrahim said: ‘International Students Day is a timely reminder of all the incredible benefits international students bring to our college and university campuses. The vast majority of international students can’t vote in this election. We’re calling on students across the UK to cast their ballot for them.
‘International students come in their hundreds of thousands to make our education the best, most diverse and enriching system possible. They deserve to be treated with respect and dignity.
‘This upcoming general election is our chance to achieve just that. We have had enough of a hostile immigration system that disregards student welfare and potential, limiting our ability to attract the brightest and best to study in the UK.
‘History shows that when students lead, society wins. We’re asking for students in this election to make sure our campuses remain diverse places into the future, with an expedited legal guarantee of a post-study work visa lasting at least two years for international students, with sweeping reforms to humanise our immigration system, and much more.’