In a war-torn world what is the future going to look like if people seeking protection cannot learn the skills they need to build a future?
Students who are in the UK seeking asylum have often studied hard in difficult circumstances to meet the entry requirements and demonstrate great intellectual ability and determination. Don’t let York close its doors to them now.
- An asylum seeker is someone who has fled to the UK from their country for fear of persecution and is in the UK asking for protection as a refugee. They are in the UK legally, waiting for the Home Office to process their case and decide whether to grant them on-going protection or send them back to their country of origin. This process can take years. Children who are categorized as asylum seekers, even those born in the UK to parents still seeking asylum, are able to go to school but face being charged international fees for university. No matter how much potential they exhibit most asylum seekers are not able to manage these costs.
- A single adult asylum seeker receives £36.62 a week from the state in comparison with the absolute minimum £67.50 provided for single unemployed UK citizens per week. Asylum seekers do not have permission to work in the UK. They are therefore barred from earning taxable income which would contribute to the UK economy and from taking on work whether they are willing or not and most will certainly not be able to afford to go to university without the lower fees and other financial support provided for ‘home’ students.
Still here still talented; asylum seekers are granted leave to remain in the UK while their fate is decided. This process may take years, together let’s campaign to prevent those months and years being wasted!
Why should talents go uncultivated and why should UK universities give up their commitment to sourcing the most able and ambitious students available to them? If these students happen to be seeking asylum does this make them less worthy of consideration?
Currently, most UK universities charge international student fees for asylum seekers wishing to attend university. Charging international student fees for asylum seekers directly excludes many from university and may produce a deskilled, demoralised and disenfranchised group of young migrants in the UK. This harsh reality is especially reprehensible when we consider that each university in the UK has the power of discretion in the granting of ‘home’ and international fees and that asylum seekers count for a tiny percentage of net migration to the UK and would account for an even smaller percentage of university applicants.
Accepting university applications from asylum seekers who are legally residing in the UK on the same financial terms as others legally residing here would not detrimentally effect universities to a degree that could in any way rival the positive precedent set by the gesture. If it did it is unlikely that universities including Manchester, Leeds, Royal Holloway, and Salford would be welcoming applications from asylum seekers on the same basis as other UK citizens, don’t you think?
Why are asylum seekers different from international students? Because their primary reason for being in the UK is not that they chose to come to study, and they do not usually have the means to support such a choice. Rather, they have been forced to migrate for their safety, often fleeing real threats of persecution, violence or even death. They must prove they’re in danger of oppression in their home countries before gaining access to the UK as “asylum seekers”. Shall we now suggest that the doors we expect to be open, for our personal and career development, be closed to people who have often suffered fear incomprehensible to that same “us”? Universities are sites in which knowledge and expertise from around the world can be pooled, can interact, and produce exciting new approaches and solutions to the challenges we meet in our increasingly globalized world. The exclusion of asylum seekers, legally residing in the UK to shelter from fear and persecution, on an economic basis, is misplaced protectionism at its worst.
“Is it really OK to discriminate against people on the basis of where they were born?”
We are not asking that asylum seekers be privileged above UK citizens, but given their special circumstances recognised by the state, their legal leave to be here, and their past endeavours and future potential, it is embarrassing that York University does not express solidarity with asylum seekers. The UK is now their home.
We petition our university to join our Northern colleagues, the universities of Manchester and Leeds, to consider applications from asylum seekers on the grounds of merit and potential, not financial capacity, as they fairly consider those of other ‘home’ applicants.
Please sign this petition to show your support! http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/equal-accessyork/