A welcoming and inclusive future

The ‘hostile environment’ and the ‘culture wars’ have divided our society, stoked hate, and increased racism. On top of that, it costs our economy when we can’t fill essential jobs and when international students can’t live, work, and study here.

Be an amazing place for international students to work and study

  • Scrap the NHS Surcharge and the working hours cap for international students; simplify the graduate route and lower salary thresholds for employers
  • Devolve power to governments across the four nations of the UK to set their own rules on international students
  • Build relationships with other countries to ensure that international students can access hardship funding, and rejoin Erasmus+

Safe and free campuses

  • Repeal ‘culture wars’ fake laws and protect the Human Rights Act
  • Create an interfaith agency to work on community relationships and campus cohesion, jointly owned with students’ unions
  • Make campuses safe and accessible: retrofit buildings, establish national standards on tackling sexual violence, reform Disabled Students’ Allowance and Personal Independence Payments

Current present & future

The ‘hostile environment’ and the ‘culture wars’ have increased racism, antisemitism, and islamophobia and are a shameful stain on the history of the UK.

70% of hate crime in the UK in 2022-23 was racially motivated

1 in 3 international students have to work while they study

64% of the UK public believe the UK should host as many or more international students

Students who come to the UK to study and build their lives face huge legal and financial barriers, with no recourse to public funds, a hostile environment, and even state-sponsored harassment.

From cat-calling and drink spiking, to racial harassment, to the onslaught of transphobia on our screens and in our papers, to classes we can’t enter because they’re not physically accessible: society right now is divided and unaccepting: and we’re feeling the impacts.

Education plays a crucial role in fostering global understanding and partnership. The future of our economy, our safety and our climate are reliant on our relationships with every other country on earth.

Alternative present & future

The UK could be an amazing place to be a student.

We could break down all barriers to studying, living, and working in the UK. We’re proud of studying here, and we want every student to have the best experience they can.

We could work in cooperation to solve the global crises that we face long term and build a better world and society for everyone.

At home, we could all work to create welcoming campuses and a society which is not divided right at the very top, but where everyone’s rights are respected and we all live freely and safely.

Across the world, the UK government could actively foster mutual education agreements with other countries, where exchange programmes are funded, and where we welcome international students who choose to share their skills, knowledge, and culture here in the UK. They could devolve powers on international students and international exchange across the governments of the UK.

Policy Ideas

Be an amazing place for international students to work and study

  • Build reciprocal relationships with other countries to ensure international students can access financial support such as hardship funding.
  • Scrap the NHS Surcharge, so that everyone studying in the UK can access free healthcare.
  • Equal access to work: remove the working hours cap for international students.
  • Devolve powers to governments in Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales to set their own rules on international students.
  • Remove the wage threshold for visa sponsorship, ensuring the UK is an open and welcoming place for students from across the globe, and simplify the graduate route for graduates and employers.
  • Extend the rights and privileges of the Common Travel Area to all international students.
  • Rejoin the Erasmus+ Scheme, and reinstate Erasmus+ funding to further education colleges and community organisations.

Safe and free campuses

  • Repeal the ‘culture wars’ fake laws that make a mockery of our democracy and fuel division.
  • Focus Freedom of Speech laws on protecting freedom of speech – not just spreading hatred.
  • Roll back restrictions on civic participation, including protest laws, Voter ID laws and trade union laws.
  • Create a new interfaith agency, jointly owned by institutions and students’ unions, to build community relationships, and to ensure students can practice their faiths freely.
  • Establish national standards for universities and colleges to tackle sexual violence, abuse and harassment, with funding for consent training in colleges.
  • Fund retrofitting of campus buildings, and standards on new builds, so that accessibility is baked into every campus.
  • Protect the Human Rights Act, so we can take action against discrimination and hate.
  • Reform Disabled Students’ Allowance and Personal Independence Payments, to make a fair and humane system of support for disabled students.

What Students Think

  • 95% of students think more should be done to tackle sexual violence and misconduct.
  • 77% of students think the working hours cap for international students should be dropped.
  • 96% of students think more should be done to make campus life accessible for disabled students and apprentices.