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Student groups in UK campaign for detained student

An open letter urging the UK Home Office to act promptly on the case of a detained international student accused of breaching visa conditions has reached 1,241 signatures.

Photo: Unsplash

Four student and human rights advocacy groups jointly released an open letter urging the Home Office to make a decision on the case promptly

University of Stirling student Muhammad Rauf Waris, from Pakistan, is being held at Dungavel Immigration Removal Centre in South Lanarkshire, Scotland where he has been for over seven weeks.

The postgraduate student is accused of working more than the legal limit for international students of 20 hours and has therefore had his visa cancelled.

He has spoken of his declining mental health and wellbeing since being detained.

“I don’t want even my worst enemy to face this kind of mental torture that I am facing at the moment, as my health is very bad since I have been here,” the student is reported by The National to have said.

“I can’t eat anything and whatever I am eating, I am vomiting next minute. I am mentally down and out, and I am not the only one – my family is suffering because of this unlawful detention.”

My family is suffering because of this unlawful detention

Four student and human rights advocacy groups – Amnesty at University of Stirling, Student Action for Refugees Stirling, NUS Scotland and No Evictions Network – jointly released an open letter urging the Home Office to make a decision on the case promptly, which they have invited the public to sign.

Urging the Home Office not to prolong “the deprivation of the student’s liberty which has proven to have detrimental effects on him”, the letter has so far garnered 1,241 signatures.

The letter states that the student has asserted that he was following his visa requirements, attending all of his classes, and completing all of his assignments.

“The Court denied his application for bail, leaving him in Dungavel awaiting a decision on whether his case can be judicially reviewed,” it continued.


“Indefinite detention is cruel and unfair” read an image shared by Amnesty at Stirling University.

“Indefinite detention is cruel and unfair”

The groups have become “increasingly worried” about the student, they said, specifically regarding his health, and are “appalled” by the way the case has been handled.

“Despite having provided the Home Office with evidence to support that he was following the conditions of his visa over a month ago, they are yet to review his case,” it continued.

The PIE approached the Home Office for comment, which said it would not comment on individual cases.

Instead, in a statement, it said “illegal working causes untold harm to our communities, cheating honest workers out of employment, putting vulnerable people at risk, and defrauding the public purse”.

“The government is tackling illegal immigration and the harm it causes by removing those with no right to be in the UK,” it continued.

Earlier this year, the UK government said it was considering increasing the number of hours international students can work during their studies in a bid to fill job vacancies across the country.

Although the Home Office stated it does not comment on individual cases, according to The National, a source in the department said authorities had “credible evidence” the student had breached the terms of his visa.

The PIE also reached out to the University of Stirling for comment.

“While the university cannot comment on individuals, we can confirm that we are aware of this case and are in touch with the student’s legal representatives,” a spokesperson for the university said.

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