Tuesday, October 4, 2016


Following up from my Go Home post, today is yet another day where the rhetoric in the UK is overwhelmingly anti-immigrant and those feelings of living in a country that doesn't want you here are mushrooming.
Today we heard that non-UK doctors are welcome only to the point that the NHS can be wholly UK staffed - after that, bye bye.

Then we heard that the government wants to be more selective in which international students have access to higher education in this country and which universities can accept them. In pandering to the xenophobic anti-immigration rhetoric of right-wing campaigners and Eurosceptics, the UK government has chosen an easy target - students. By restricting student immigration they hope to reduce net migration figures. But this is a fudge that doesn't address any of the actual "concerns" of those anti-immigrant vocalists. It just penalises those who come to this country to better themselves - some will stay and contribute to this country through taxes, knowledge exchange, and cultural enrichment. Others will return home or move to other countries and have the same positive effects there. By attacking student immigration the UK is shooting itself in its own foot.
What is so disheartening when I open the news, is how the contributions of foreigners to this country is rarely valourised. And it can be small contributions. Take my example: my doctoral studies and employment in this country spans 6 years. In that time I have:
  • Contributed to scholarship in this country
  • Educated university students, both British, EU, and International students in this country
  • I have supported these same students to access resources in university libraries in this country
  • I have provided pastoral care for students studying in this country
  • I have started a career to enrich the lives of students in Higher Education in this country
  • I have paid taxes in this country
  • I have made a home in this country

 And yet every day I feel more and more that I am not welcome here.
The sad thing is that my feelings are just that - feelings of being unwelcome but I do not fear being asked to leave because I am lucky enough to be Irish and therefore exempt from this awful anti-immigrant, close-minded attitude.
My heart breaks for those at the sharp end of the government's narrow policies.
Maybe it won't be as bad as it seems, but I dread opening the news for fear that it will only get worse.

See my Times Higher Education post about student immigration from earlier this year.

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