International students: pawns in the migration game

International students: pawns in the migration game

Fortnightly Bulletin

Written by: IRR News Team

IRR News 22 November – 08 December 2022

Dear IRR News Subscriber,

Recently the Guardian reported on Nepali student Sulav Khadka, interrogated and detained for twelve days on arrival in the UK to take up his scholarship at York University. This exposé of an immigration injustice that left a student in limbo and thousands of pounds in debt could not have been more timely, given the news that the prime minister is considering a crackdown on the numbers of foreign students and their dependants coming to the UK. The background to Sunak’s deliberations comes in the form of a right-wing moral panic against foreign students, which kicked off at Conservative party conference and intensified after the publication of recent net migration figures. But as IRR vice-chair Frances Webber shows this week on IRR News, foreign students, particularly those from the Global South, have long since been treated as a rightless cohort within a migration policy dictated by perceived short-term party-political demands. While there are, she shows, countless examples of how this has played out over the years, the latest proposals appear to be aimed at the Right’s favourite bogeymen: Nigerians.

This week, after the tragic deaths of at least 15 youngsters, parents are being advised to look out for the symptoms of Strep A, which can lead to scarlet fever. We document in our regular calendar of racism and resistance the very real risk of scarlet fever, diphtheria, scabies and other infectious diseases for migrants and asylum seekers living on the streets, in sub-standard hostels or overcrowded detention centres. While a man and his son, who has scarlet fever, living on a ship in Scotland holding 1,750 Ukrainian refugees, have been quarantined, others on the ship were not warned. The outbreak of such diseases is the consequence of the system’s profound neglect. Meanwhile, the man who died after testing positive for diphtheria at the Manston reception centre has been named as 31-year-old Hussain Haseeb Ahmed.

The Institute of Race Relations is precluded from expressing a corporate view: any opinions expressed are therefore those of the authors.

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