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Lord Backs Campaign to Protect International Students' Rights

Lord Philip Hunt, the Shadow Home Affairs Minister, has met with student leaders at the University of Sheffield and given his full backing to their campaign to protect international students’ rights.

After meeting with officers from Sheffield Students Union, Lord Hunt agreed with students’ concerns that Government plans to restrict the rights of international students studying in the UK are short sighted and could be hugely detrimental to cities like Sheffield.

The Government’s proposed changes to visa regulations would restrict international students’ rights to work while studying, , remove their right to work in the UK for the two years after completing their course and restrict the rights of family members to accompany them.  The Home Office is currently consulting on these proposed changes.

 Joe Oliver, Education Officer at Sheffield Students’ Union said:

“The right to post-study work is one of the key reasons many international students choose to come to British Universities rather than those in the United States, Australia, or elsewhere.
I worry these proposals are poorly thought through, and could dissuade many international students from coming to study at Universities like Sheffield by making them feel like unwelcome second-class citizens.

Given that international students contribute millions of pounds to the city of Sheffield every year, and are a key source of income for our Universities, I think the Government urgently needs to consider the damage their proposals could do to the economy.’’

Lord Hunt, who served as Deputy Leader of Lords until 2010, plans to raise the issue in the House of Lords early next month, to seek question the Government on the economic effects of the changes.

Mina Kasherova, International Officer at Sheffield Students’ Union commented:

“I’m very pleased Lord Hunt took the time to meet with us, and that the Labour Party recognise this is a important issue for the country as well as just international students.  

We have also contacted Nick Clegg and invited him to meet with us about our concerns. Given how important this issue is for large numbers of the students he represents in Sheffield Hallam, we hope we’ll be able to meet with him soon, and highlight the unintended consequences these changes could have on our universities and our city.’’

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