Overseas students no longer have to queue through the night to register with police

Overseas students no longer have to queue in the early hours to register with the Overseas Visitors Records Office. Instead students can now register with their universities.

Last week EastLondonLines interviewed foreign students who were queuing for up to nine hours from 12am to ensure they could register within the police’s seven-day deadline. 

From this week, students can submit forms through their universities or collect pre-stamped forms from the Overseas Visitors Records Office and return the completed forms by the end of the year.

Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of Universities UK, said she had told ministers the previous requirements had been “entirely unacceptable”.

She said: “This decision means that international students will not face the prospect of queuing again through the night to register with the police.”

The Metropolitan Police Service said in a statement at the time that such queues were “unusual” for the time of year and that registration with police was “required by law”.

Student union leaders and university representatives had strongly condemned the situation facing these students.

Concerns were raised about the damaging image created by the queuing as it may jeopardize the UK’s international image as a welcoming place for overseas students.

Overseas students bring an important additional income and much needed contacts to universities.

Daniel Stevens, International students officer for the National Union of Students said: “It was absolutely unacceptable that students be asked to be queue for hours, often in terrible weather and be expected to arrive before 6:30am to have any chance of being seen.”

He adds: “The image of the UK as country that welcomes students from around the world has taken a hit in recent months and it will suffer even more as students tell friends and family about these experiences.”

Hasan Suroor, journalist from The Hindu, one of India’s biggest newspapers wrote: “If you didn’t know they were foreign students who had paid thousands of pounds for the privilege of studying in Britain, you could mistake them for poor immigrants queuing up for shelter and a free meal.”

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