URBC New Study: COVID-19 Technology and Monitoring Survey

Today, Unis Resist Border Controls (URBC) will launch our COVID-19 Technology and Monitoring Survey. This survey is designed to better understand how technology and AI are being deployed to monitor visa compliance within and across universities, especially as teaching has moved online due to the global pandemic.

We hope this will offer us several case studies which will allow us to better resist the blanket deployment of such technology for surveillance, monitoring and performance management purposes. The issues are urgent, especially as many institutions have already indicated that online teaching is very likely to continue in September.

All responses will be entirely anonymous, and any published material will be redacted in line with GDPR compliance. Anonymised quotes may appear in the project report and/or publications. Data generated by the survey will be stored in encrypted documents on secure cloud storage for five years. Only the core research team will have access to the data. No data will be shared with third parties. The study will take between 20-25 minutes to complete.

This study has been co-endorsed by the following organisations: Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI), Migrants In Culture, Migrants’ Right Network (MRN), & the Open Rights Group.

Click here to take you to the survey.

Information for migrant Tier 4 students affected by Covid-19

We understand that there is a lot of anxiety and uncertainty at present given the current Covid-19 pandemic, and UK based Tier 4 migrant students have concerns regarding their status. In an attempt to provide some guidance, solicitors at Bindmans LLP have worked with Unis Resist Border Control (URBC) to produced the following FAQs and resources to assist those impacted by the virus. The FAQs address both immigration and housing issues being faced by international students.

You will appreciate that the situation is rapidly evolving, as is the guidance being issued by the Home Office. This information is accurate as of 9am on 16 April 2020. We would strongly recommend that anyone reading this guide, also makes reference to the Home Office website for the most up to date guidance. The Home Office guidance or Tier 2, 4 and 5 sponsors can be accessed here

This document is for information only and is not intended to be immigration advice. 

Immigration FAQs:

If I have returned home, but am still enrolled and distance learning, will I have to reapply for my visa before my return to study in the UK?

No, so long as your visa remains valid. The Home Office has confirmed that students are able to continue their studies through distance learning, either in the UK or overseas. Therefore as long as you have not deferred or interrupted your study for a non-coronavirus reason, you will not lose the sponsorship provided by your institution. We would recommend that you maintain close contact with your Sponsor to ensure they are aware of your continued studies. 

I am a tier 4 student and am unable to return/travel to the UK due to travel restrictions? What will happen to my visa? 

Students are permitted to continue their studies through distance learning (see above), whether they are in the UK or another country. The Home Office has confirmed that Sponsors do not need to notify the Home Office when a student has moved to distance learning.

How has the Tier 4 reporting changed for sponsors in light of coronavirus?

Sponsors do not need to report:

  • student absences related to coronavirus. This can include absences due to illness, their need to isolate or inability to travel due to travel restrictions;
  • Students moving to distance learning. 

Sponsors do not need to withdraw sponsorship, if because of coronavirus, a student is unable to attend for more than 60 days. 

If I have officially interrupted my study and travelled away from the UK, will I have to reapply for my visa before my return to study in the UK?

According to the Home Office, if your interruption is coronavirus related then your institutions are not required to withdraw your sponsorship or report you. However, Home Office remains rather unclear in what is meant by coronavirus related and we would advise you consult with your university before making any decision to interrupt your studies, if possible. 

We are also seeking to campaign against any withdrawal of sponsorship in the current situation and allowing interrupting students to retain their tier-4 visa, to facilitate any caring responsibilities, maintain mental wellbeing as much as possible in the current context and easing the pressure to achieve academically in these extremely challenging times. 

I have been assigned a CAS but not yet applied for a visa. Can I still apply for a visa? 

You will still be able to apply for a visa. The start date for the course stated on the CAS may have changed. The Home Office has said that it may accept a CAS if it has become invalid because the student was unable to travel as a result of coronavirus. Applications will be considered on a case by case basis. It is also possible for new international students to start their course overseas by distance learning, which does not require a CAS/visa as the individual will not be entering the UK. 

I am sick/self-isolating/absent from my studies due to coronavirus. Will this affect my immigration status?

No. The Home Office has confirmed that the university does not need to report student absences related to coronavirus. They will not need to withdraw sponsorship if because of coronavirus you are unable to attend for more than 60 days.

I have finished my studies and was planning to leave the UK as my visa is expiring. I now cannot travel. What should I do?

It is possible to apply for an extension of stay in the UK if you are in the UK and your leave is due to expire between 24 January 2020 and 31 May 2020 and you cannot leave the UK because of travel restrictions or self-isolation related to coronavirus (COVID-19). The Home Office will extend your leave to 31 May 2020 if you cannot leave the UK because of travel restrictions or self-isolation related to coronavirus (COVID-19). You must update the Coronavirus Immigration Team by completing an online form

The Home Office has confirmed that, in certain circumstances, you may be able to apply for a long term visa from within the UK on an exceptional basis. This applies if the reason you need to leave the UK is to be able to apply to switch into a different immigration category. The Home Office has announced that up until the 31 May 2020, those visa applicants who must normally leave the UK  in order to apply for a long-term UK visa in a different category, will be able to apply from within the UK if they are unable to leave due to travel restrictions or self-isolation. You will still be expected to meet the requirements for leave in the category you are applying under.

I have applied for a Tier 4 visa but I have not yet had a decision on my application. Can I start my course? 

An individual can start their course or studies before a visa application has been decided if:

  • an individual’s sponsor is a Tier 4 sponsor
  • an individual have been given a confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS)
  • the individual submitted an application before their current visa expired and show evidence to their sponsor of this
  • the course they start is the same as the one listed on their CAS
  • the individual have a valid Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate if required

If an individual’s application is eventually refused the individual must stop their course or studies.

What are the rules on accessing NHS treatment, especially as the NHS surcharge is still in place?

Treatment and testing for coronavirus has been added to the list of conditions for which no charge will be implemented – even if the test comes back negative. No other changes have been made to the NHS surcharge rules, but a reminder that the services that you should always be able to access free of charge are:

  • accident and emergency (A&E) services (whether provided at an A&E department or similar e.g. urgent care centre, walk-in centre or minor injuries unit) but not including services provided after the overseas visitor is accepted as an inpatient or at a follow-up outpatient appointment. So, where emergency treatment is given after admission to the hospital, e.g. intensive care or coronary care, it is chargeable to a non-exempt overseas visitor. Note that some walk-in centres provide primary care services rather than A&E-type services and overseas visitors cannot be charged for such services either because primary care services are not within the scope of the regulations; 
  • family planning services, which means services that supply contraceptive products and devices to prevent pregnancy (termination of an established pregnancy is not a method of contraception or family planning); 
  • the diagnosis and treatment, including routine screening and routine vaccinations, of the conditions specified in Schedule 1 to the Charging Regulations which is necessary to protect the wider public health. This exemption from charge will apply to the diagnosis of the condition, even if the outcome is a negative result. It will also apply to any treatment provided for a suspected specified condition, up to the point that it is negatively diagnosed. It does not apply to any secondary illness that may be present even if treatment is necessary in order to successfully treat the condition;

Coronavirus treatment itself has been added to a list of other infectious diseases for which the treatment is always free, link here.

I have been contacting student services at my institution (international office, postgraduate office, student welfare etc.) but have not found them to be forthcoming, responsive, helpful or compassionate.

If you feel that your sponsor is not responding in an appropriate manner to your requests and/or not offering adequate support during the Covid-19 pandemic, please get in touch with Unis Resist Border Controls (URBC) immediately. We will do what we can to support you but are also gathering any information on university bodies failing in their duty of care. You can email URBC at: UnisResistBorderControls@gmail.com


Housing FAQs:

Do I have to leave my current home if my landlord tells me to?

This depends on the circumstances in which you live. 

The key question is whether your landlord has to obtain a court order before they can make you leave. The government has recently announced a freeze of all court possession proceedings for at least 90 days, and so your landlord will not be able to take steps to obtain a court order until at least 25 June 2020. 

If your landlord does not need a court order then unfortunately these changes do not apply.

Whether your landlord requires a court order will depend largely on whether you have exclusive possession of your living space.  If this is the case then you are considered a tenant and have much stronger protection from eviction. If you do not have exclusive possession then it is likely you are a licensee, and have much less protection. Further information about the distinction between a tenancy and licensee can be found on Shelter’s website here: 

https://england.shelter.org.uk/housing_advice/downloads_and_tools/tenancy_rights_checker

For practical purposes, almost all students will fall into one of three groups:

  1. Tenants (who have exclusive possession of the areas of a property in which they live).
  2. Students who live in university owned halls of residence.
  3. Lodgers or licensees (who do not have exclusive possession over their living space).

What is my situation if I am a tenant?

If you live in a rented flat or house, with or without other tenants, you are likely to have a tenancy.  You are also likely to have a tenancy if you live in a student hall of residence that is owned and run by a private housing provider.

If you are a tenant, your landlord cannot force you to leave your property without first getting a possession order from court.

The government has announced that no new possession claims can be issued until 25 June 2020 and that all existing possession claims have been suspended until the same date.  Other temporary changes have also been introduced to extend the length of notice that must be given by landlords to tenants before they begin taking steps to end a tenancy.

The effect of these changes is that tenants cannot currently be made to leave their homes by landlords.  If landlords attempt to evict tenants without a court order they are potentially committing an offence under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977.

What if I live in university halls of residence?

If you live in a hall of residence that is owned and maintained by the university at which you are studying then you are probably a licensee, but the Protection from Eviction Act is also likely to apply. 

Your landlord will therefore require a court order to force you to leave, and so the effect of the current suspension in possession proceedings is that you cannot be made to leave if you are not able to do so.

If you are in this situation and you are being put under pressure to leave when you cannot, then you should seek further legal advice.

What is my situation if I rent a room in somebody else’s house?

If you rent a room in somebody else’s house and you share facilities such as a bathroom or kitchen then you are likely to be a licensee.  Unfortunately, if this is the case then you have a lot less protection.

Your landlord must give you reasonable notice before asking you to leave the property, but they do not need to obtain a court order to do so.

Do I have to continue to pay my rent?

Yes

Unless you reach an agreement with your landlord, or you have brought your tenancy to an end, you should continue paying your rent regardless of whether you are actually present in the property.  You will almost certainly have a contractual obligation to do this under your tenancy agreement. If you do not pay then your landlord can recover the money from you as a debt, and will likely be able to keep your deposit as payment towards the money that you owe. 

If you owe money to your university then you may be prevented from graduating until any debts are settled.

Useful Resources

The Home Office has set up a Coronavirus Immigration Help Centre (CIH). The CIH can be contacted by email (CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk) or telephone (0800 678 1767). Anyone concerned about their immigration status in light of coronavirus should contact the help centre. We would recommend emailing in the instance so that there is a record of your attempts to seek advice from the Home Office, should you need to rely on it in the future.

Home office information page for advice for UK visa applicants and temporary UK residents, last updated 14 April: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-uk-visa-applicants-and-temporary-uk-residents

UKCISA information page on coronavirus last updated 17th April: https://www.ukcisa.org.uk/Information–Advice/Studying–living-in-the-UK/Coronavirus-Covid-19-info-for-international-students

Contact Unis Resist Border Controls (URBC) if you are having any issues with your immigration status and/or if you are experiencing any problems at your university.

URBC Statement of Solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en Nation & Ways for University Staff & Students to Support the Struggle of Indigenous Peoples in Canada!


Wet’suwet’en Solidarity UK protest in London at the KKR&Co office on 20th February 2020. Imagine via Twitter @KelseyMxMo

Unis Resist Border Controls stands in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en nation, who are fighting to protect their and from destruction through Coastal GasLink’s 400 mile pipeline. As a group opposed to all borders, we recognise that so-called Canada is a colonial project built upon Indigenous genocide, which is an ongoing structure perpetuated, amongst other means, by oil and gas extraction on Indigenous land. We call for the Canadian government, and BC premier John Hogan to condemn and stop the ongoing attacks by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), and to respect ‘Anuc niwh’it’en (Wet’suwet’en law) and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The land under attack has never been ceded to Canada, and the 1997 Delgamuukw v British Columbia Supreme Court ruling recognized the Wet’suwet’en’s right to their territory. The Unis’tot’en, a clan of the Wet’suwet’en nation, established a camp at the planned beginning of the pipeline in so-called Northern British Columbia in 2009, which has since served as a space of healing and resistance against colonial occupation, thus far preventing the largest fracking project in Canadian history from going forward. The Wet’suwet’en have stood strong in the face of violent paramilitary attacks by the RCMP, following an injunction letter by the colonial courts which has given CoastalGasLink the power to invade the territory. On February 6th 2020, the RCMP attacked yet again, this time brutally arresting twenty-eight people, including three Wet’suwet’en matriarchs. Resistance continues, led by Indigenous nations across Turtle Island and supported by their allies across the globe. 

The Canadian government presents itself as committed to Truth and Reconciliation, and BC law has recently aligned with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), article 10 of which states that ‘Indigenous peoples shall not be forcibly removed from their lands or territories’. But its actions blatantly reveal the settler colonial foundation of its liberal democracy. While Trudeau poses at climate marches, his government provides tax breaks to oil and gas extraction projects that destroy Indigenous land and life, and bring us all closer to climate apocalypse. 

As students and workers in English universities, we are deeply implicated in the settler colonial project, and hold responsibility for standing with Indigenous peoples in their struggles towards decolonisation. England is the heart of Empire; the development of early universities in the ‘New World’ displaced Indigenous peoples while settler elites were trained on the continent. Ever since, exploitation of knowledge and resources have been a central element of upholding the global hegemony of English universities. Further, our institutions directly fund research extraction projects such as the Coastal GasLink pipeline: Despite ongoing student-led protests, more than half of UK universities still invest in fossil fuel

We call on all to join us in standing with the Wet’suwet’en. Make a donation to the Unist’ot’en legal fund here: https://unistoten.camp/support-us/donate/. E-mail BC premier John Hogan to tell Canada and British Columbia to uphold Indigenous rights, and e-mail your MP to demand they pressure John Hogan. Other ways to support, and more information can be found here: http://unistoten.camp/supportertoolkit/

URBC Statement concerning #MeTooUCU

[CN Rape, Sexual Harassment]

Over the last week a series of blog posts have come out detailing appalling instances of sexual abuse perpetrated by the then Leeds Beckett UCU branch secretary, Paul Blackledge, and the support he received from some fellow UCU activists at both national and branch level. Failing to deploy counter-procedures against his accusers, Blackledge still received considerable support from some fellow UCU left comrades who remain in prominent positions within the national union. While Blackledge eventually was expelled from the union, these blog posts make a few things clear: namely that the support Blackledge received was primarily from SWP linked fellow UCU Left activists and that the Rule 13 process used to deal with cases of sexual assault is inadequate. As the Survivors Rule blog states:

‘We were at the core of the Union complaint lodged under Rule 13. This was extremely stressful and prolonged process which was not helped by the difficult procedure under Rule 13, and it was made unbearable by the fact that the abuser was able to use the process and his UCU and SWP friends at local, regional and national level to further the abuse through silencing and ostracising us.’

URBC would like to express its unwavering support for victims of sexual violence, and support their right to seek out justice according to adequate and efficient measures put in place by institutions. We believe survivors and support their right to be heard and respected, within and beyond the university. We also have historically cut ties or refused to collaborate with campaigns that have been revealed to harbour and protect abusive people and practices.

We also intimately know how procedures and regulations, as well as complicity, operate as means to victimise people who are painted as troublemakers when they raise their voice against abuse, intimidation and harassment. Indeed, we have seen these kinds of tactics deployed against non-EU students and staff who have raised their voice against being mistreated by their institutions, seeing academics close ranks in the face of criticism and deploying the full force of the UK’s border regime in order to silence whistleblowers. We are horrified to see similar tactics deployed by members of UCU with significant positions of power within the union, and disappointed that UCU does not appear to have an effective policy to properly support members who have been victims of sexual abuse and harassment. This is not a factional position – URBC supports the strike, supports rank and file members and indeed, many of us will be participating in the strike. What we do not support is a culture of abuse enabled by arcane union structures and actual factional complicity.

Therefore, line with our stance to believe and support victims of sexual violence, we urgently ask for that the individuals face accountability processes which are in line with the survivors’ needs. We also wish to underline the need for reviewing a process reviewing process of the Rule 13 procedure so as to make the procedure less traumatising and more accessible to anyone who finds themselves having to fight sexual misconduct claims within the UCU.

November URBC Workshops

For November 2019, Unis Resist Border Controls (URBC), will be giving workshops and talks in Leicester, Birmingham, and Bath.

As part of our commitment to educational outreach around border controls and the hostile environment policy inside UK higher education, for over three years URBC has given our resistance workshops at a number of universities, DIY spaces and conferences on opposing and ending the hostile environment policy.

In our resistant workshop, participants explore through different exercises how non-EU and EU migrants have been used by the Home Office and higher education institutions to create visible and invisible barriers. These barriers leave migrant students, lecturers, and university workers vulnerable to institutional racism and xenophobia, housing discrimination, health discrimination, the changing landscape of immigration laws, job precarity, disability, policing, UKVI surveillance, gendered violence and poverty. We will draw on examples of previous and existing case work of how border controls function inside UK higher education.

On Thursday 7th November 2019, URBC will be holding a resistance workshop at the University of Leicester, from 2pm-4pm, 2nd Floor, Charles Wilson Belvoir Park Annexe.

Details can be found on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/events/2279456958831243/





On Thursday 21st November URBC will be speaking at Borders, Refugees, Solidarity, Resistance taking place at the Murray Learning Centre, LG 14, University of Birmingham hosted by Capital and Class/CSE Midlands.

This workshop aims to bridge the gap between academia and activism in relation to these questions of borders, refugees, solidarity, and resistance. It brings together researchers, practitioners and activists around a shared goal of both highlighting, and resisting, the damaging effect of Britain’s ever-worsening border regime.

Itinerary

5.00 Introduction and welcome

5.05 Speakers

Tendayi Bloom, University of Birmingham, Why can some people move freely, while others’ movement is controlled? Thoughts about the global governance of migration

Gaja Maestri, Aston University, Exploring refugee solidarity: motivations, meanings and tensions

Yajur Arora and Hanna Ellis, Docs not Cops, University of Birmingham Medical School, The challenges of accessing healthcare for “Illegal” and vulnerable migrants

Sanaz Raji, Unis Resist Border Controls, The impact of the border regime in Universities and initiatives to resist border controls

5.35 Workshop discussion highlighting solidarity initiatives we can focus on in Birmingham

6.10 Closing discussion, feedback and ideas for future activities

6.30 END

Finally, on Wednesday 27th November, URBC will be giving it’s last workshop of the autumn term at University of Bath, Room 1W 2.102. This workshop is a jointly hosted event between UCU Bath and URBC.

Details for joint UCU Bath & URBC workshop can be found on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/events/676479829510091/


Are you a UCU or student group interested in issues related to anti-racist actions, migrant right’s and decolonising work? Book us for an workshop. Contact us at: UnisResistBorderControls [AT] Gmail [DOT] Com.





URBC Statement Concerning Upfront Charges & the Hostile Environment Policy in the NHS. #PatientsNotPassports

2017 #PatientsNotPassports protest in Manchester.

The hostile environment has no place in any of our institutions. We reject it as it continues to urge us to act as border guards, monitoring our colleagues, neighbours and in the case of the NHS, requiring health care professionals to seek out immigration status of their patients before providing treatment. Docs Not Cops, who work to oppose these measures in healthcare, have invited us to organise this vigil to mark the expansion of charges at the point of access of the NHS, and to highlight the deadly effect it has had as a barrier to healthcare to those already vulnerable.

The Conservative party’s marketisation of the NHS, and continued attacks on access to free healthcare, have been much documented by organisations like Keep our NHS Public. As is often the case, migrants were among the first to be affected by this marketisation agenda.  While New Labour had previously indicated that non-resident migrants were to be charged for healthcare, in practice this was rarely enforced, and applied to a relatively small population (although it still had significant consequences for precarious migrants). Under the 2014 Immigration Act, the Coalition government significantly expanded the groups of migrants considered to be ineligible for free care at the point of delivery, and mandated visa checks in hospitals to enforce this. 

On the 6th April 2015, the Immigration Health Surcharge came into effect, and a healthcare levy was applied to spousal, work, and student visas.  On the 23rd October 2017, two years ago today, Theresa May’s Conservative government introduced upfront charges for secondary NHS treatment where patients are unable to prove their eligibility for free care. As Docs Not Cops states, undocumented migrants and failed asylum seekers “became “chargeable” upfront (rather than after treatment, as had been the case previously), if their condition is deemed ‘non-urgent’. This situation applies to an estimated 600,000 people, including 120,000 children, 65,000 of whom were born in the UK.”

Upfront charges have affected the Windrush generation and others who may have a difficult time proving their status in the UK. The violence caused by the Hostile Environment in the NHS is illustrated by stories like that of Winston Howard, who came to the UK from Jamaica over 60 years ago, and waited three years following a spinal injury to actually access NHS care, because he would  “rather risk paralysis from the neck down than go to a hospital for fear that he would be discharged to immigration detention and possibly deportation”.  Then, we have the story of Kelemua Mulat, who had advanced breast cancer but was denied potentially life-saving cancer treatment for six weeks amid confusion about whether she should be charged by the NHS. Kelemua Mulat died aged 39 as a direct result of the brutal violence caused by upfront charges and the hostile environment policy in the NHS.


These upfront charges for secondary NHS treatment have also created a climate of fear. Even where patients can only be charged after receiving treatment, debt owed to the NHS is grounds for denying a visa.  Maternity Action has found that pregnant women who are asylum seekers or undocumented are afraid of accessing the NHS due to the risk of of being reported to the Home Office and incurring more debt. This is especially worrying and harmful, as migrant women already have higher rates of maternal mortality and miscarriage than average. Similarly, some migrants living with HIV are also being deterred from seeking care and attending screenings, despite these being exempt from charges.

“Yet, we also believe that campaigns to make universities pay for NHS surcharge fees for non-EEA lecturers alone will not end the hostile environment policy. It merely transfers the responsibility of payment from non-EEA lecturers on to the university. Meanwhile, non-EEA migrants and asylum seeker students, and migrant university workers continue to shoulder the responsibility of NHS surcharge fees and upfront charges that directly affect their health and safety and that of their families.”



In our work in Higher Education, we have seen the effects of the NHS surcharge fees. Indeed, Unis Resist Border Controls (URBC) has seen a growing movement of non-EEA lecturers advocating for UK universities to pay for their NHS surcharge fees. We agree that these fees are exorbitant and are against the ethos of Nye Bevan who established the NHS in 1948 making it free at the point of use, available to everyone who needed it. Yet, we also believe that campaigns to make universities pay for NHS surcharge fees for non-EEA lecturers alone will not end the hostile environment policy. It merely transfers the responsibility of payment from non-EEA lecturers on to the university. Meanwhile, non-EEA migrants and asylum seeker students, and migrant university workers continue to shoulder the responsibility of NHS surcharge fees and upfront charges that directly affect their health and safety and that of their families. This is why, since the creation of URBC four years ago, we have worked with and supported campaigns that are fighting to end the hostile environment policy and xeno-racist immigration laws. We continue to work with Docs Not Cops, a grassroots organisation made up of health professionals fighting to end the hostile environment policy in the NHS, in co-hosting events and supporting their #PatientsNotPassports pledge. We call on academics, students, and university workers to support initiatives called by URBC & Docs Not Cops to end the hostile environment policy in our schools, universities, the NHS, and workplaces.

This statement has been endorsed by Docs Not Cops.

Latest update concerning Adriana Ortega-Zeifert

Photo taken on the 25th September 2019 of Adriana stating, “Motherhood & domestic violence shouldn’t limit or define personal & professional opportunities to women.”

We understand that many academic staff, students, and activists have been asking us what has happened to Adriana Ortega-Zeifert following her hearing in family court that took place on Wednesday 2nd October. For legal reasons, Unis Resist Border Controls (URBC) cannot discuss any further Adriana’s current situation.

However, Adriana has relayed this message to us:

“Thank you to all my supporters who have raised over £2,000 in my fight to keep my family together in the UK. The kind words that you have left on my fundraiser has uplifted me during bleak times and given me the strength to continue on. It’s been a very hectic few weeks for me legally and otherwise. I cannot go into details. Unfortunately, the way things are looking, my case to keep my family together & to remain in the UK will be a long one. Please help me reach my target goal so I can get the legal support to help me win this fight!”

Please continue to do these four things to support Adriana’s struggle to keep her family together and to remain in the UK. They are the following:

1. Donate to her JustGiving fundraiser for to help pay for her legal costs. Adriana needs to raise £10,000 for her & her daughter’s fresh claim application and their solicitors fees. Any funds you can donate at this time would be much appreciated. The link to Adriana’s JustGiving fundraiser can be accessed here: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/adriana-ortega-zeifert

2. Sing this URBC letter in support of Adriana. Join the over 300 academics, students & UCU members who have endorsed a statement from URBC demanding that the Home Office give Adriana & her daughters leave to remain and for the University of Manchester to allow Adriana back on her PhD course. You can sign and share the statement here:
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/15gnX9PY4vC8fjN6O_Zgk5lRYuoDhBWoP7ssArvH5Mh8/edit

3. Join 2,000 supporters who have signeda Change.org petition demanding the Home Office not deport Adriana & her daughters back to Mexico:
https://www.change.org/p/priti-patel-mp-minister-for-the-home-office-home-office-unfairly-deporting-talented-academic-and-her-daughters

4. Have your UCU branch pass our motion for Adriana! We are also asking UCU member to specifically pass this emergency motion in support of Adriana and her family:

Motion for Adriana

This motion notes:

Adriana Ortega-Zeifert is an international student from Mexico who came to the United Kingdom in April 2010 to pursue a PhD at the University of Manchester, having been awarded a scholarship to pursue her groundbreaking research.

Professor Peter Gardner, Adriana’s supervisor, states that she is: “doing some really cutting edge research in the field of prostate cancer diagnosis using state-of-the-art analysis system including collaboration with leading US researchers at the University of Wisconsin. Her work on cancer associated fibroblasts is ground breaking and is just waiting to be finished off before publication.”

However, Adriana was forced to take an interruption from her PhD studies as a result of mental health issues brought on by years of sexual, emotional, financial abuse and parental alienation at the hands of her ex-partner while he was also a student at the University of Manchester.

Because of her severe depression, PTSD and the side effects of antidepressant sertraline, Adriana failed to send  her second extension visa application to the Home Office. As a result, the University of Manchester withdrew her from her PhD studies. 

Compounding matters, Adriana has been instructed by family court that her three daughters must return to Mexico to visit her ex-partner. Adriana and her three daughters want to remain in Manchester. Because of the hostile environment policy, if they are forced to return to Mexico, there is no way that they would be allowed to re-enter the UK for ten years or more. 

Already people in Manchester and around the UK are supporting Adriana’s struggle; over 2,000 individuals have signed Adriana’s Change.org petition demanding that the Home Office grant them leave to remain status in the UK. Close to 300 academics, students, and union members from UCU and Unite the Union have signed a letter from Unis Resist Border Controls demanding the Home Office to grant Adriana and her three daughters leave to remain & for the University of Manchester to bring Adriana back on her course. 

This motion resolves

1. To pressure University of Manchester to allow Adriana Ortega-Zeifert back on her PhD course, to resume her important groundbreaking research.

2..To demand the UK family courts give primary custody to Adriana Ortega-Zeifert. 

3. To demand that the Home Office grant Adriana Ortega-Zeifert and her three daughters be granted leave to remain in the UK.

4. To donate £150 from local branch funds for Adriana’s ongoing legal costs.




UCU members: show support for Adriana & her three daughters at this crucial moment. Pass our emergency motion in your branches!

Adriana and her three daughter on a day out in Manchester.

Since August, Unis Resist Border Controls has been keeping everyone informed of Adriana Ortega-Zeifert’s fight against the violence of the hostile environment policy that might led to her and her daughter’s deportation on the Wednesday 2nd October 2019.

Not only is Adriana a talented researcher, a survivor of domestic violence, but also a fellow UCU member.

A few days ago we informed you that there are three things that all academics, students, and union officials who are oppose to the hostile environment in higher education and all other areas can do to support Adriana and her family.

They are the following:

1. Donate to her JustGiving fundraiser for to help pay for her legal costs. Adriana needs to raise £10,000 for her & her daughter’s fresh claim application and their solicitor’s fees before the 2nd October 2019. Any funds you can donate at this time would be much appreciated. The link to Adriana’s JustGiving fundraiser can be accessed here: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/adriana-ortega-zeifert

2. Join the over 100 academics, students & UCU members who have endorsed a statement from URBC demanding that the Home Office give Adriana & her daughters leave to remain and for the University of Manchester to allow Adriana back on her PhD course. You can sign and share the statment here:
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/15gnX9PY4vC8fjN6O_Zgk5lRYuoDhBWoP7ssArvH5Mh8/edit

3. Join 2,000 supporters who have signeda Change.org petition demanding the Home Office not deport Adriana & her daughters back to Mexico:
https://www.change.org/p/priti-patel-mp-minister-for-the-home-office-home-office-unfairly-deporting-talented-academic-and-her-daughters

We are also asking UCU member to specifically pass this emergency motion in support of Adriana and her family:

Motion for Adriana

This motion notes:

Adriana Ortega-Zeifert is an international student from Mexico who came to the United Kingdom in April 2010 to pursue a PhD at the University of Manchester, having been awarded a scholarship to pursue her groundbreaking research.

Professor Peter Gardner, Adriana’s supervisor, states that she is: “doing some really cutting edge research in the field of prostate cancer diagnosis using state-of-the-art analysis system including collaboration with leading US researchers at the University of Wisconsin. Her work on cancer associated fibroblasts is ground breaking and is just waiting to be finished off before publication.”

However, Adriana was forced to take an interruption from her PhD studies as a result of mental health issues brought on by years of sexual, emotional, financial abuse and parental alienation at the hands of her ex-partner while he was also a student at the University of Manchester.

Because of her severe depression, PTSD and the side effects of antidepressant sertraline, Adriana failed to send  her second extension visa application to the Home Office. As a result, the University of Manchester withdrew her from her PhD studies. 

Compounding matters, Adriana has been instructed by family court that her three daughters must return to Mexico to visit her ex-partner. Adriana and her three daughters want to remain in Manchester. Because of the hostile environment policy, if they are forced to return to Mexico, there is no way that they would be allowed to re-enter the UK for ten years or more. 

Already people in Manchester and around the UK are supporting Adriana’s struggle; over 2,000 individuals have signed Adriana’s Change.org petition demanding that the Home Office grant them leave to remain status in the UK. Close to 300 academics, students, and union members from UCU and Unite the Union have signed a letter from Unis Resist Border Controls demanding the Home Office to grant Adriana and her three daughters leave to remain & for the University of Manchester to bring Adriana back on her course. 

This motion resolves

1. To pressure University of Manchester to allow Adriana Ortega-Zeifert back on her PhD course, to resume her important groundbreaking research.

2..To demand the UK family courts give primary custody to Adriana Ortega-Zeifert. 

3. To demand that the Home Office grant Adriana Ortega-Zeifert and her three daughters be granted leave to remain in the UK.

4. To donate £150 from local branch funds for Adriana’s ongoing legal costs.

Unis Resist Border Controls is asking UCU members to show solidarity with Adriana and her family before Wednesday 2nd October 2019 when they have to have their fresh claim application filed to the Home Office. Without the £10,000 to pay for their fresh claim application and legal fees, Adriana and her three daughters deportation will go ahead. We cannot let this happen! Help keep Adriana and her family together in the Manchester community that they have built roots in and now call home!


UPDATE: Adriana Ortega-Zeifert & her children need our urgent solidarity to stop their deportation. Learn what you can do to help!

Adriana and her three daughters.

In August, Unis Resist Border Controls told you about the case of Adriana Ortega-Zeifert, a talented PhD researcher and survivor of domestic violence who is fighting to keep her family in the UK.

On the 8th August 2019, Adriana’s three daughters were forced by family court to leave the UK and to visit their father, and ex-partner of Adriana who abused her for years while she was a PhD student. However, Adriana’s daughters protested and refused to board the AeroMexico flight headed to Mexico City.


While it is great news that Adriana and her children have been reunited, the fight to keep her family together is far from over.

The family courts still maintain that her daughters must go back to Mexico. However, the family court’s decision to force Adriana’s daughters to return to Mexico harm their existing family application for leave to remain in the UK. Adriana’s children are adamant that they do not want to return to Mexico. Compounding matters is that family courts have ruled that if Adriana’s daughters fail to return to Mexico by Wednesday 2nd October 2019, Adriana may face a jail sentence.

As Adriana’s further comments,

“It is both outrageous and disappointing that I could face imprisonment just because my children refused to board a plane to visit their father because they are scared to be forced to live with him. Family court is essentially forcing my daughters to return to Mexico and not granting them the right to apply for further leave to remain, which they are entitled to as they are approaching the 10 years mark of living in the UK.”

Adriana’s case highlights the intersection of the hostile environment policy and how it particularly affects migrant women who flee domestic abuse. As Sister’s Uncut states,

“The state cuts off support for people with different kinds of immigration status; this is called ‘No Recourse to Public Funds’. For migrant women who experience domestic violence, this is life-threatening. This is because about half the funding for refuges comes from housing benefits, which migrant women are usually barred from. As a result, migrant women and their children have been turned away from domestic violence shelters. In 2017, just 7% of women with No Recourse to Public Funds found space in a shelter when leaving domestic violence. This shows the racism at the heart of the criminal justice and immigration systems, which puts deportation before domestic violence services. “

Next step

Adriana and her daughters are putting in another fresh claim application for indefinite leave to remain before the 2nd October 2019 deadline to stop their deportation back to Mexico.

What you can do to help Adriana

At this critical stage in Adriana’s case, there are many things that one can do to support her and her daughters fight to remain in the UK. Here are a few things that you can do:

1. Donate to her JustGiving fundraiser for to help pay for her legal costs. Adriana needs to raise £10,000 for her & her daughter’s fresh claim application and their solicitor’s fees before the 2nd October 2019. Any funds you can donate at this time would be much appreciated. The link to Adriana’s JustGiving fundraiser can be accessed here: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/adriana-ortega-zeifert

2. Join the over 100 academics, students & UCU members who have endorsed a statement from URBC demanding that the Home Office give Adriana & her daughters leave to remain and for the University of Manchester to allow Adriana back on her PhD course. You can sign and share the statment here:
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/15gnX9PY4vC8fjN6O_Zgk5lRYuoDhBWoP7ssArvH5Mh8/edit

3. Join 2,000 supporters who have signed a Change.org petition demanding the Home Office not deport Adriana & her daughters back to Mexico:
https://www.change.org/p/priti-patel-mp-minister-for-the-home-office-home-office-unfairly-deporting-talented-academic-and-her-daughters

If you do all three steps, this will greatly ensure that Adriana and her daughters will be able to fight to remain in the UK. Let’s continue to support them at this crucial period to stop them from being deported back to Mexico.

Support Luqman Onikosi at his Immigration Tribunal in London on Friday 23rd August

University of Sussex alumni and Brighton migrant-rights campaigner, Luqman Onikosi. Photograph: The Tab.

Luqman Onikosi is an alumni of the University of Sussex and a well-known Brighton community campaigner and volunteer for numerous causes.

Luqman applied to stay in the UK on medical grounds after being diagnosed with Hepatitis B and chronic liver disease while studying at the University of Sussex. His health conditions – which are fatal if left untreated – claimed the lives of his two brothers in Nigeria, where medical support for this condition is not available.

Luqman has explored all available possibilities for treatment in Nigeria to no avail. Dr C. I. Anyanwu, a virology specialist, confirming in evidence submitted to the court hearing that ‘there is no definitive treatment available for the level of his condition he is experiencing in Nigeria at present.’

Being forced to return to Nigeria would be a death sentence for Luqman. The many years of waiting for a positive outcome from the Home Office has exacerbated Luqman’s mental and physical health.

Over 7,500 people signed a petition requesting the Home Office grant Luqman ‘Leave to Remain,’ and his case has been backed by high profile figures such as Noam Chomsky and academics from across the UK.

Now Luqman’s friends and supporters are hoping that a Home Office decision to remove Luqman from the country will be overturned, after he won the right to appeal his case before a judge. The Campaign to Stop the Deportation of Luqman Onikosi have informed us that Luqman is due back for a immigration tribunal hearing on Friday 23rd August, 9AM at Taylor House, 88 Rosebery Ave, Islington, London EC1R 4QU. If you are in the London area, please come and support Luqman at this critical juncture with his case. Luqman’s supporters have asked that you come exactly at 9AM to Taylor House.

From our workshop at Reclaim the Power’s Power Beyond Borders were participants held up signs in solidarity with Luqman Onikosi.

For those unable to be in London on the day, Unis Resist Border Controls (URBC) is asking our followers to show their solidarity and support for Luqman at this crucial period. With the support of The Campaign to Stop the Deportation of Luqman Onikosi, we are asking you to take part in our selfie protest action on Twitter on Thursday 22nd August from 7pm-9pm.

To take part in our twitter storm, please do the following:

1. Print or download our sign.
2. Take a selfie photo with printed sign or downloaded sign on your devise.
3. Tweet photo to the following addresses: @UnisNotBorders @BriMigSol &
@ukhomeoffice using the hashags: #LetLuqmanStay and #DontDeportLuqman

Let’s make sure that we send a strong message to the Home Office that Luqman belongs here in the UK with his friends! All disabled migrants have a right to remain in the UK and should not have their disability and/or health condition be used against them by the Home Office. No disabled migrant should be deported to countries where they could die as a result of a lack of resources.