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UK: NUS calls for NHS Surcharge & work hour scrap

The NHS Surcharge and working hour cap for international students should be scrapped, the UK's National Union of Students has said.
January 30 2024
2 Min Read

The NHS Surcharge and working hour cap for international students should be scrapped, the UK’s National Union of Students has said.

The UK should also rejoin the Erasmus+ program, which it left when it left the European Union.

As part of the organisation’s ‘Manifesto for our Future’, the NUS highlights a “cycle of crises” that students are faced with and says the government needs to do more to support international students.

It urges Westminster to make the UK an “amazing place for international students to work and study” and calls for an education system that “welcomes international students”.

Along with eliminating the work cap and the NHS Surcharge – which will rise to £776 per year for students and £1035 per year for those on the Graduate visa from February 6 – the organisation said the graduate route should be simplified and devolved governments in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales should be able to set their own rules on international students.

The Conservative government said it would raise immigration fees – including for international students – to fund public sector pay rises last year.

NUS UK vice president Higher Education, Chloe Field, said the manifesto – built by over 10,000 students and apprentices from over 500 universities, colleges and training providers in the UK – represents the country’s students “talking with one voice”.

“It’s vital that parties and candidates listen to us”

“Students hold the keys to the next General Election; at the last election there were 60 constituencies where the number of students was bigger than the vote margin that decided the outcome. It’s vital that parties and candidates listen to us,” Field stressed.

It also calls on government to “build relationships with other countries to ensure that international students can access hardship funding, and rejoin Erasmus+”.

Last week, London mayor Sadiq Khan reiterated that the decision to leave the EU program was “wrong-headed” as he called for a new youth mobility scheme with European partners.

The NUS has joined with the European Students Union to campaign for the UK to reassociate with Erasmus+.

As well as rejoining the scheme, Erasmus+ funding should be reinstated to further education colleges and community organisations.

The manifesto noted that 77% of students think the working hours cap for international students should be dropped. One in three international students have to work while they study, it said.

The rights and privileges of the Common Travel Area across the UK should be extended to all international students, the manifesto added.

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