No borders for the rich
London Student has been approached by Mayfair based company, Henderson Rowe Ltd, to advertise new ‘Investor Visas’. An investor visa is a visa that allows anyone who can put £1,000,000 in a British bank account to stay in the country for an unlimited period of time, with no conditions. This also counts for international students from outside the EU. Henderson Rowe Ltd attempted to pitch a news story to London Student, saying that the strict laws around international students only working for 20 hours a week and staying for only a short period of time after their studies end do not apply to those with investor visas.During the conversation, John Whick, Senior InvestmentManager at Hendersone Rowe Ltd, said that their company specifically catered for overseas students who were able to put “£3 million” into a British bank account, raising the investor visa’s actual wealth bar, and that “many of these are from China.” Investor visas were voted through into law in 2012, in time for the new academic year. Over the past few years there have been many attacks on international students’ rights, ranging from the need to have thousands of pounds more than is required for fees and living expenses at the start of their course, to allegations of government spying on students from abroad.
The investor visa is just one part of a clear class system in the UK migration system. Tier 1 (Investor) exists for the multi-millionaires; Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) for small businesses; Tier 2 of various kinds for skilled workers; and Tier 5 for unskilled workers – students usually rank within Tier 4. There are also various other kinds of Tiers, such as a special visa category for orchestral musicians, another for priests, etc. Edmund Schluessel, part of the NUS International Students Committee said: Establishing Tier 1 (Investor) completes a system where there is literal, explicit and deliberate class discrimination in migration. If you’re willing to pay a premium on top of it, you can also get services like express passage through migration checkpoints – they’ll even send a UKBA agent to a location of your choosing at a time of your choosing so they can take your biometric information at your convenience; in contrast, the overwhelming majority of non-EU migrants have to travel in some cases hundreds of miles to get their biometrics taken, and then when they arrive in the UK they still have to register with the police, as was heavily reported in the media this past winter.”
Schluessel continued: “The UKBA’s covert racism and homophobia is well known, but the ConDems have made class discrimination the law of the land. The idle rich can literally buy their way into the UK while workers and students go through humiliating, expensive and unnecessary checks all designed to make them easier to dispose of when bosses have extracted profit from them. Britain has become a country where migrants are treated like cattle – but where the cattle, ironically, are actually mislabeled horses.”
After it was explained to Mr Whick that any coverage on Henderson Rowe Ltd would be unfavourable, he threatened to go to the University of London and complain about the practice of London Student to someone he “knows very well there.” Once it was explained
to Mr Whick that London Student is not obligated to cover any particular news item, or present it in the way any company or individual may desire and the newspaper itself is independent of ULU and the University of London, he ceased his threatening emails.
Jamie Woodcock, NUS NEC, commented: “It’s very sad when students from abroad are merely seen as units of capital. Of course, this is due to marketisation within Higher Education. Companies like Henderson Rowe Ltd are exploiting the class bias and racist
immigration of this systemfor their own profit – how these people can sleep at night I’ll never know.” Daniel Stevens, NUS International Students Officer, though contacted
several weeks ago, is yet to give any comment.