UK's National Union of Students calls for end to police registration

The National Union of Students has called for an end to the requirement for students to register with police before they begin their courses.

It is the start of the academic year in the UK and the new intake of students who have come from outside the European Economic Area are required to register with the police before they are allowed to start their courses.

All students in London are required to register at;

The Overseas Visitors Registration Office
Brandon House
180 Borough High Street
London
SE1 1LH

There are over 30,000 new students in London who need to register this year. The office is not able to cope and this has caused lengthy queues and has resulted in students missing the beginning of their courses.

Mariella Nihabi from Brazil told The Guardian that she had been to Brandon House on three occasions but had been turned away. 'I cannot attend class until I have registered but this is the third time I have tried queuing. Today I have been here since 6am, There are people who got here earlier. It's horrible. We have to wait for hours and pay for the travel each time. If they want us to register, they could at least ask us to do it at a police station nearer to where we live.'

Daniel Stevens of the NUS said 'it is absolutely unacceptable that students be asked to queue for hours, often in terrible weather, and be expected to arrive before 6.30am to have any chance of being seen.' He said 'There are numerous ways to avoid the distress being faced by these students including increasing staff numbers, adjusting the amount of time being given to students to register or creating a ticket system so that students have defined times to register.'

Mr Stevens said that it was unclear why students have to register in any event as all their information is already held by the UK Border Agency.

However, the Metropolitan police website merely advises students to arrive early but not too early. It asks those queuing not to spend the night outside the office. It says 'queues are currently starting as early as 12.00am. In the interests of health and safety we would kindly request that you do not start queuing at this time as it forces us to close our queues as early as 6.30m'.

An unnamed law student at the London School of Economics told The Guardian that he had been queuing for four days without success; 'Obviously, this will damage British universities' reputation. This isn't the only country that offers international education – the US and Canada do not treat foreign students like this.'

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