There goes my Malaysian-ness. Inbox spammed by thoughtful undergraduates with at least a good sense of argument I could tolerate well enough. When I clicked on the link to the full “Consultation” document and its survey, the first thought in my mind was, “Stop shitting on the international students already!”
The fact that this whole “consultation” thing is done without much hullaballoo only means that these people know that the international students are capable of becoming “pressure groups” to revoke the changes. Had they publicised this issue, I’m sure another demonstration/riot all over UK will ensue. For one, the changes are so sudden ( proposed to be imposed on students graduating 2011 onwards) and so drastic (Post Study Work visa scrapped off, diminishing ratio of work to study placements for international students).
One of the reasons for the UKBA Home Office to come up with these changes is to cope with the rise of unemployment rates among the British locals and reduce the number of illegal immigrants who apply to non-existing institutes and end up doing something, somewhere which doesn’t sit well with the locals or by the law. The UK also has problems of students overstaying their visa and due to sudden influx of students have also rendered some parts of the country “overcrowded” with the locals complaining they themselves are unable to rent a decent place as almost everywhere have been taken up by students.
But you know, any new implementation as serious as these should be phased in, not forced in. In one of the emails which landed in my inbox was a Pharmacy student in dilemma on how she was supposed to continue her Pre-Reg (Pre-Registration exams) as she needs it in order to practice pharmacy professionally. Different countries had different regulations regarding the qualifications and had she known the Post Study Work visa route is closed, she could have saved tens if not hundreds of thousands of pounds by opting to study locally, back in her homeland. There was also another student who was aghast by this as he had intended to use the two years after graduating working in a UK based company, at least to gain some experience and training before starting his own business when he returns home (or something like that).
Increasing the language bar can still be accepted, as having a strong proficiency in English would definitely make life a little bit easier as you can at least understand written materials the universities would dish out to you.
Reducing the work to study placements ratio from 50:50 to 66:33 is definitely not fair for the international students. First, it is up to the companies’ discretion how and who they would like to select to work with them. Second, international students pay significantly more than the local students, so why should the international students be put at an disadvantage? Applying for placements and internships is already a competitive affair, and if the intention is to emphasise study more than work, for courses such as engineering, medicine, pharmacy and chemistry which requires hands on experience for you to truly immerse yourself into the discipline, the work part definitely plays a big role in sharpening your skills. Then again, it is not everybody who opts for courses inclusive of work placements.
The thing is, I have already face a *uckload of shit simply trying to get my study visa for the current course I’m doing. What the UKBA should be aware of is the incompetence of the people on the lower levels who do most of the procedures. If future incoming international students are demotivated enough to avoid applying or rejecting studying offers in UK, Britain’s economy would cripple. A large chunk of research funding comes from international student fees, and even transport services would lose out on the revenue of regular passes bought by the same students. Parents who wish to accompany can stay home and opt to visit during the child’s vacation break. Students who are parents should prioritise one or the other, not both. If you really need the qualification, take the trouble to find somebody to take care of the kid. Or else, there is always the option of Distance Learning.
These are some of my thoughts (there is more actually, but save it for later perhaps). What about yours?