The Government published its response to the consultation on health charges on the same day (22 October) as the Immigration Bill had its second reading in the House of Commons.
Although the Government has decided to go ahead with the charge, it appears to have listened to the arguments that UKCISA and many others put forward that the charge, if introduced, should be set at the lowest level outlined and that international students should be charged a lower figure, £150 per year as opposed to £200 for others. We do not yet know the level at which dependants will be charged.
See our Immigration Bill page for details of the key provisions of the Bill, with links to relevant documents including debates, briefings and campaigns.
The Bill has been given very little time for debate and the House of Commons Committee stage, in which the Bill is debated in detail and when we can hope to provide information that could lead to changes, is set to finish by 19 November. We now know that administrative review in the UK will cost £80 and that there is no expectation that it will help anyone overturn a refusal on the grounds of credibility. Applicants refused on this ground will be forced to use judicial review. Therefore, although we know that this is a particularly busy time of year, if you are a UKCISA member and have any information or examples that can be used to challenge the abolition of appeal rights, please let us have them as soon as possible (details of what we need and where to send it are in our news item of 16 October). Many thanks to the one person who has already responded!
In the next couple of weeks, we will be meeting other bodies in the education sector to discuss further action and to decide what additional evidence we might need in support of our efforts to challenge provisions of the Bill.
If you are a student who would like to get involved with challenging the provisions of the Bill, please see the National Union of Students' information about how best to do that.