Recent study conducted by YouthSight [...]
Work Permit Nightmare
Good news for the British higher education system – four UK universities have taken over the top slots of the QS World University Rankings. This great moment comes after a summer of rather disappointing events, from delays in processing visas, to London Metropolitan University having its license to teach international students suspended, leaving hundreds of students to feel cheated, out of pocket, and unwelcome.
Britain is a great place to study, and presents huge opportunities for students worldwide. The issues we have seen are mostly immigration issues and reflect only the lazy practices of some institutions or the impact of downsizing departments due to spending cuts. International students are caught in the middle of this web of bureaucracy and face delays or decisions which may change their lives and will definitely cost them a lot of money.
Some EU students don’t fare much better. Bulgarian and Romanian nationals, whilst they may pay the same fees as a UK student, are subject to tougher immigration checks than other EU nationals before they are allowed to work. They need a registration certificate before being allowed to legally get a job and the application process for it is not exactly a piece of cake.
As a Romanian student, I don’t mind providing UKBA with enough information to prove that I am not a crook and that I am indeed enrolled full-time on a university course. I understand their need to check and double check to make sure they do not issue these certificates to bogus applicants.
However, the process to obtain this permit takes an awful lot of time. The dedicated section of the UKBA website tells us most applications are processed in six months and that we should follow up if we haven’t heard from them after all this time. But looking closer, they also tell us that “this week we are working on cases that were received on 09 December 2011.”
To apply for a registration certificate you must send, among other documents, your original passport or identity card. Six months is a fairly long time to go without official identification, and it would appear that most applications nowadays take way longer than that to process.
But that shouldn’t bother us all that much, because after all we are here to study not to work. I’m not here to get a job, although I would like one like every other student.
And it wouldn’t, if it weren’t for one little twist. This is not just affecting our chances of getting a weekend job. We cannot do work experience without this permit either, even if it’s unpaid. And for some, work experience is part of their degree. The Guardian took notice of it last month, presenting the situation of two students who have encountered huge obstacles in finishing their degree or placement requirements due to these delays.
Alina Craciun, president of the Romanian society at the University of Hull, told the newspaper: “We really need to solve this problem as soon as possible, because some of us have a placement year and we cannot apply or start it without the yellow card – the work permit – and of course we cannot finish our degree in this situation”.
Personally, I am currently struggling to get my application together. I’ve applied before but was forced to withdraw it due to a family situation that required my urgent return home and thus had to request my travel documents back. Since then, additional documentary evidence is required, and whilst trying to clarify this, I’ve found out that UKBA has replaced all their telephone helplines with an email address, which ‘aims to deal with your enquiry within seven days’.
I can only hope that this backlog will eventually be cleared and there will come a time when applications will be dealt with in a more speedy manner. Because it has got to the point where this permit is getting in the way of not just earning some extra cash, but finishing our degrees or making the best of our time as a university student in a country with a world-class academic reputation.Tweet Share1
Want to get featured on the site? Click here to send in an article.