Disturbing the Universe

David L Clements, science and science fiction

An overseas PhD student in the UK speaks out


I thought I had posted this already, but it seems the iPad WordPress app ate that post (apologies if it somehow arrives twice).

Anyway, this account by a overseas (ie. not UK or EU) PhD student in the UK demonstrates how the Home Office’s xenophobia, motivated by a wish to pander to the gutter press and UKIP, is making the UK universities actively hostile to them. Far from the stated position of wanting to attract the ‘best and brightest’ to the UK, the Home Office now is trying to make life as difficult as possible for them, and for the institutions hosting them.

More than that, Theresa May, the Home Secretary, has told universities to develop a financial basis that is less dependent on overseas students fees, and is making it far harder for overseas PhDs to get jobs in the UK after qualifying. I know several PhDs who want to stay and contribute to the UK – one who even had a job lined up – who worry about or who have had to leave the country because of May’s new restrictions. These are just the people that industry and research need – the best and brightest of the world – but May wants them sent home.

Higher education is a UK success story now being put at risk by short term, short sighted xenophobia from the Home Office.

Vince Cable was prepared to fight May on these issues in the last parliament. What hope do we have now when there’s a strong chance she’ll take over from Cameron in less than 5 years?


Author: davecl

Astronomy, science, science fiction

3 thoughts on “An overseas PhD student in the UK speaks out

  1. I deal with the Home Office on behalf of incoming performers (Tier 5) so this doesn’t surprise me, but it does sadden me.

    • I feel your pain.

      Getting visas for non-EU postdocs is expensive and as difficult as finding a copy of the Necronomicon and then summoning Yog-Sothoth (or is it Theresa May? – I can’t tell the difference these days) without losing your mind. Fortunately we’re big enough we have support staff to do the heavy lifting. Mind you, some of them have been looking a little wild around the eyes of late…

  2. PS Most of that last comment was brought to you by the ‘you have to laugh’ department.

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