Portals to higher education practically closed for asylum seekers

New rule says those with discretionary leave to remain to be treated as overseas students 1st June 2011: Asylum seekers have practically been barred from university, as the new rules compel them to pay higher student fees. To make the matters worse, they practically will not have access to grants or loans.
The rule says that youngsters not granted asylum but given discretionary leave to remain in the UK as it is unsafe for them to return to their native countries will be treated as overseas students.

The rule change in February will compel them to pay enhanced overseas fees and with practically no access to grants or loans.

With this, it is clear that portals to higher education will literally remain closed for them as a substantial number of them come to the UK as money-less lone children.

Estimates suggest only the previous year as many as 2,700 decisions were taken on asylum applications filed by children aged up to 17. They had no family to care for them in the UK.

Out of the total, as many as 1,935 were granted discretionary leave to remain.

Manager of the Migrant Children’s Project at the Children’s Legal Centre Kamena Dorling says until these students are granted indefinite leave to remain, which may not be until they have been in the UK for over six years, they are cast into limbo at a crucial time in their lives.

The charity provides legal advice and representation to children and their careers.

Dorling says the centre has been flooded with calls from social workers concerned about the effects of the rule change.

A solicitor working for the Migrant Children’s Project, Alison East says local authorities would normally be providing some on-going support of the sort that parents provide, but they cannot possibly meet the huge cost abyss that would open up if those young people cannot access student finance. This means they would fall out of education.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills’ spokesman, on the other hand, insists the change brings clarity to the system for those awarded leave to remain in the UK. It has been necessary in reviewing eligibility to ensure that limited financial resources are used effectively."

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