migrantvoice
Speaking for Ourselves

Editorial: 'You are our last hope'

Editorial: 'You are our last hope'

MV

 Migrant Voice -
 Migrant Voice - Editorial: 'You are our last hope'

We’re pleased that another inquiry, this time by the Public Accounts Committee, has been launched into the Home Office’s actions in 2014 that led to tens of thousands of international students being stripped of their visas and robbed of their futures.

But we’re also concerned that the government could exploit this announcement to further delay a much-needed resolution – shrugging off their responsibility and handing it to the new Prime Minister and his government at the end of July.

Following the National Audit Office report in May, and the All Party Parliamentary Group hearings in June (report to follow soon), the Public Accounts Committee – a group of MPs that scrutinises how the government spends taxpayers’ money – has now launched its own investigation.

We welcome any and all attempts to get to the bottom of what happened and to expose the hostile behaviour of a government department desperate to reduce the net migration figures at any cost.

But what we and the students need, even more than another inquiry, is action. We already have mountains of evidence proving that this was an injustice on a vast scale; that tens of thousands of people were criminalised based on fundamentally flawed evidence; that innocent people have been denied the chance to clear their names; and that those who have battled through to win are still being prevented from restarting their lives.

Lawyers, technical experts and MPs have been shouting these facts from the rooftops for years – and only recently have they had the megaphone of the media to make themselves heard.

We welcome this inquiry, but we urge the Public Accounts Committee to conduct it speedily, and we urge the Home Office not to use this announcement as yet another excuse to delay justice, which has already been denied to these students for more than five years.

More than 100 of these students recently wrote a letter to the Home Secretary, also calling for urgent action, and delivered it by hand on 27 June. In it, they wrote:  

“The Department you lead ruined our lives and stole our futures. It branded us as frauds, forcing us to bear a lifelong mark of shame, while never presenting any evidence at all against most of us.

“Many of us are destitute, barely able to live from day to day. Many of us are on medication for stress or depression. Many of us have been rejected by our families, who are shamed by the allegation of cheating. Some of us have tried to kill ourselves.

“Home Secretary, you are our last hope and we need to hear from you. Please tell us what our futures will be. It is within your power to put this right.”

We echo their words. Home Secretary, you can and must resolve this, and you must do it urgently.