I always wanted to write to an MP - this is what I wrote to Hugh Bayley (Labour MP for York) yesterday.
As an ex-employee of the British Council (Thailand) now working in York at the English Language Centre I am concerned by the present government's alarming anouncements regarding further student visa regulation tightening. I hope it is just sabre rattling, but fear Mr Brown is attempting to win the BNP deserters back into the Labour fold and may actually try to make them happen!.
While working for the British Council, a UK government funded organisation under the directorship of Neil Kinnock, I was always given to understand that the idea was to attract as many students to the UK as possible. The reasons were manifold but can be summed up briefly: foreign students equal cash for the UK via:- tuition fees, VAT and other taxes paid by the students, text books sales - largely UK publishing houses, use of British made products in the students' fields of study fostering a familiarity and trust of that product therefore lifelong trade with the UK, accomodation fees paid to UK citizens, etc, etc.
Non-EU nationals are now about to be squeezed again and made to jump through more UKBA hoops. This will drive prospective students to other English speaking nations offering less stringent visa conditions.
For example; an uplift in required level of English before being accepted for a study visa is ridiculous - surely the students want to study here in order to become proficient at English.
I implore you to bring the utmost pressure to bear on Mr Brown to abandon these ill thought through ideas. Liase with the right honourable Mr Kinnock and get his angle on attracting foreign students.
There must be hundreds and possibly thousands of your constituents who would be directly affected by such measures, and many more indirectly. Look at the language schools, universities, landlords, shopkeepers etc. in York who rely on foreign students for all or some of their livelihood.