Motion 2: Tier 4 Students, Visa Monitoring, and the 'Hostile Immigration Environment'

UCL UCU notes that:

  1. The 'Hostile Immigration Environment' fostered by the UK government is having a seriously detrimental impact not only on international students and staff but also on the relationship between staff and students more generally. In particular the recent changes to Tier 4 visa monitoring requirements implemented by UCL are directly extending this hostile environment onto the university campus and into our classrooms.
  2. UCL's monitoring requirements go beyond the UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) own guidance, as UKVI do not expect attendance monitoring 'not directly linked to academic activities, which place an additional burden on both staff and students' and/or 'introduce policies which are seen to be unreasonable' [1]
  3. According to UN Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, the 'underlying immigration enforcement strategy of the [UK] Government relies on private citizens and civil servants to do front-line immigration enforcement', and that over-broad enforcement potentially 'violates international human rights law' [2]
  4. It is possible that a number of UCL staff members will decide to refuse to perform such requirements on grounds of conscience.

UCL UCU rejects:

  1. The unequal and/or discriminatory treatment of anyone (staff or student) within the university due to their place of origin or country of citizenship.

UCL UCU supports the 'Statement of Principles on Tier 4 Visa Monitoring' agreed by a large meeting of UCL staff and students on Tuesday 5 June (draft statement appended) and resolves that:

  1. While UCU members recognise that UCL is required to carry out Tier 4 monitoring duties, it is crucial that such monitoring has no discriminatory effects, respects academic integrity and is in line with ethical and critical engagement.
  2. UCL should openly support and advocate on behalf of its international students & staff. It thus should be doing the minimum necessary to meet the UK Visa and Immigration requirements on Tier 4 monitoring not aim to exceed them and it must convey its policy on monitoring clearly and transparently across the entire university, equally to all staff and students.
  3. UCL must respect the choice by any of its staff members objecting to performing additional monitoring requirements on grounds of conscience, and that objectors are not subject to any detriment, including disciplinary action.
  4. UCL senior management should formally respond to the points raised in the recently agreed 'Statement of Principles on Tier 4 Visa Monitoring' and disclose to the campus unions the legal advice received on this and any requirements or guidelines imposed by Home Office officials.

[1] UK Council for International Student Affairs (2016) Tier 4 Compliance: A Practical Guide, p.28;
[2] End of Mission Statement of the Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance at the Conclusion of Her Mission to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.