Valerie Hartwich's blog

NUS doubts UKBA scrapping will change anything for international students

The NUS reacted to Theresa May's announcement that she was scrapping the UKBA with scepticism. It agreed, as most people with an inkling of a clue, that the Agency had been largely failing on the customer services front, reminding us all of the unfairness and unreliability of the visa system. But it was not so willing to believe that the scrapping would lead to any changes, since it appears that an internal memo circulated amongst UKBA staff insisted that staff would “still be doing the same job in the same place with the same colleagues for the same boss”.

TNT magazine sees its wish granted, maybe...

TNT magazine has helped Australian and New-Zealander expats and travellers for over 30 years adapt to life in the UK thanks to the wealth of information it provides. Lately, it has become more and more involved in defending the right of all migrants grappling with the kafkaesque and shambolic UK Border Agency. It started a petition to urge reform of the Agency in order to improve its service delivery.

A busy week on the immigration front with a lot of cheap politics and UKBA slashing

It's been barely two days into the week and the immigration agenda is pretty heavy already! All parties have been offering their take on what is going wrong with British immigration policies, or shall we be more accurate, trying to score electoral points to the right after UKIP's supposed shocking rise in the Eastleigh by election. Scrambling to appear to be on the side of the people who they all assume will swing towards UKIP unless they are promptly heard by paternalistic and out of touch politicians, all parties have failed to actual lay down any political action or be honest about the real impact of immigration (see link).

A belated damage control move by Cameron to attract Indian businessmen

On Monday 18th of February, David Cameron announced the creation of a super priority visa service for frequent Indian travellers. This service will open in a series of Indian cities and will enable applicants to obtain a visa the same day. It is mostly intended for businessmen and women, and should be seen as a sign that the country is indeed open for business. This newest change to the visa system is a direct reaction to the mounting discontent felt by British industry chiefs, tourism offices and education providers across the country.

A statement to the undeterrable humanity of the ‘visa applicant’

We received this piece by an young and talented journalist about his ordeal with the UKBA over the last three years. Poignant, and 'on the money'....

A communication war over international students

The UKBA recently announced that applications by international students were on the rise. Unusual for an agency that prefers to inform about the arrests made and its offices closed worldwide. The reason for this piece of news is the communication war raging to win public opinion and policymakers in the immigration debate.

Huffington Post reports of shambles and confusion caused by UKBA outsourcing

It has been a few weeks now since the first text messages were wrongly sent to individuals legally in the UK accusing them of being illegal and asking them to leave the country . At any time, a communication from the UKBA causes stress and panic to immigrants considering the Agency's track record for changing regulations faster than can be kept up with, and contradictory information. But when you are told that you must pack up and leave because your papers are not in order, even though you are perfectly within your rights, tension reaches a peak.

No Christmas charity from the UKBA for international students renewing visas

Some international students who had to renew their visas found themselves stuck in the UK for Christmas and New Year, unable to go home for the festive season as their passports hadn't been returned to them.

A large number of those are at London Metropolitan and were required to submit their documents for renewal following the 'kind' offer by the government that they shouldn't be punished for the university's failings. But they ended up being punished in another form, deprived of celebrations with their families, even though they are perfectly legal.

Theresa May announces new measures and 'vindicates' the government's immigration policies

On Wednesday 12th of December Immigration minister Theresa May made a speech to announce new measures and defend the policies pursued so far.

Jordanian visa applicants treated unfairly and given bad service

Recently a Jordanian man wrote to us to tell us of the appaling experience he had had applying for a student visa. This man was supposed to do a postgraduate course at Glasgow university after completing an English course, but because of a series of mishandling of his papers and what appears to be an unequal level of service in Jordan, he will have to forget all about studying in the UK.

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