London Met University: immigration & the personal side.
There must be a hundred reasons why the government's move against London Metropolitan University is at best a sledge-hammer to crack a nut, at worst a misguided attack on GB's tradition of offering its educational expertise to the world.
But I found myself thinking, when all these visas were cancelled, what were the individual stories of sadness and disappointment that were involved. I thought that especially in this case, because a friend of the daughter (above) had just got a scholarship to come to London from South Sudan to do a Master's Course. Luckily at the University of Westminster, not at LMU.When I thought of what he had been through to get to be here, if he had had that suddenly snatched from him at the last minute . . . .
It's easy to think about foreign student's comng to the UK as the matter of just filling in an application form. In fact, for some, it can be a real marathon, stressful, labyrinthine, and a real outlay of cash (which you don't have) if it isn't actually successful.
In Samuel's case, he had to get his application off in hard copy to the UK from South Sudan. That itself took ingenuity and a bit of help from yours truly this end, just to get the documents onto the Uni of Westminster desk. Then after the good news that he had got the money, he had to get the whole thing confirmed and get a visa. Internet access for South Sudan is no piece of cake (his temporary access password had expired before he managed to get online), and there is no regular way of getting a UK visa in South Sudan. So he had to go to Nairobi to get the visa (I should say at this point that both the University of Westminster and the British Consular officials in Nairobi were absolutely brilliant in getting him here on time, but it was knife edge.)
The Uni of Westminster then (brilliantly) got him on a flight to the UK, and he is starting his induction week tomorrow. He has to get himself dug in here, open a bank account, report to the police (yes), work out how London transport works, and the supermarkets, and a million of other things.
When I hear people talk about these student visa applicants as if they were all potential terrorists, I think it is an insult to what Samuel has been through just to get here. So wish him luck.