Southend-on-Sea students forced to stop their studies because of VISA’s expiration

Teo Coroiu covers the recent Protests on campus from a group of students having issues with their Visa extension, which could affect their ability to continue studying at Essex…

Forty-one students from the Southend-on-Sea campus came yesterday to Colchester campus to have conversations with the representatives of the University, asking for their help in getting an extension on their student VISA.

Yesterday, they were walking outside of the Vice-Chancellor office to get a response on how they can obtain an extension on living and studying legally in the UK.

They wrote a full statement for the representatives of the University saying:

“We are students of MBM course January-2021, University of Essex. We completed our course on December 17, 2021. Our visa is going to expire on February 17, 2022. Still, the university has not released our final results and degree.

Even they are denying giving an Extension for resubmission if we will get fail in any module. We have been demanding some solution for more than one month.

They are not giving any solution on mails. Even for the past two days, we have been trying to meet university representatives face to face. But they are just telling us to give us the time. But WE DON’T HAVE ENOUGH TIME. We want a solution as soon as possible.”

Students of MBM course,

They stayed up more than 24 hours waiting in one of the Universities rooms for a positive response.

The Student’s Union sabbatical team were the first people who contacted them after they arrived on the Colchester campus.

They provided them with food, snacks, support, advice, and a place to stay overnight.

“As soon as we had the students gathering, we went direct there to support them, and we had some conversations with them on how we can help them, resources that we can provide, we are doing our best to represent them”, said Isabella Ceuta, VP Community and Engagement.

One of the students said that if they do not have a positive answer for the extension of the VISA, they will have to go back to their country and retake all the assignments online.

Peahat, one of the leading members of the master students, said: “We don’t have enough scholar materials to retake our assignments back home in India. We wanted to stay here and experience the full student life.”

He also mentioned: “We paid all the fees, some of us received good grades for our modules, we paid our rent.”

Bhaveh, other representative of master students said: “We started today a Twitter account called MBM Student Essex to help us sharing our story throughout the entire country.”

At around 14:30 GMT, the SU President Samira Monteleone came in the room to update them with the information that she received after the meeting with university staff.

“Your results are going to come on Monday, and you will find out if you passed or not; what I am encouraging you to do is start your VISA application now.”

At 15:30 GMT, the University, in collaboration with the Students Union, hold a presentation for the Southend on Sea students in the Lecture Theatre Building, helping them to understand more about the entire process of the Student Visa application and how they can start re-applying for it during the weekend.

The presentation was given by the Head of International Services Team, Paula Rothero and the SU Advice Manager, Sian Lovesy. 

The University promised them that after Monday, they would have individually meetings will all of them, helping to work on their application and to make the process much easier for them.

Students protesting on Square 5 on campus, 7th January 2022

Samira Monteleone, President of Essex Student’s Union, said:

“The problem at the beginning of yesterday was they had been told they have to go back to their country to do that reassessment. They will be asking the University if they could ensure that the conditions of their reassessments have to be done in the UK cause if it has to be done in the UK, they need an extension of their Visa to remain here…

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“But if I would say something, I think the Universities should come together to call up the Home Office, because the UK government changed a lot of rules…..

“EBS, their department has been talking and trying to find a way to make sure that their reassessments can be possibly done in the UK and this is all about academic judgement. However, EBS will judge each individual case on that basis….”

SU President, Samira Monteleone

The students have been asking for at least two more months of staying here to retake in person their coursework and exams that they might fail, but the University cannot approve this, mainly because this is a Home Office decision.

Most of them decided to stay over the weekend on the Colchester campus rather than go back to the Southend campus. With this decision taken, the University offered them accommodation for the next two days.

They will continue to protest outside the Vice-Chancellors office on Monday morning.

Rebel Essex
rebel@essex.ac.uk