Xenophobia in the UK: University staff laments dismal conditions

University staff in the UK are now uniting against xenophobia. They have termed moves by the Home Office to deny visas to their children and family as discriminatory. They have also demanded that the requirement presenting passports while working at other universities to be removed.

University staff in the UK are now fighting back against policies that they deem as discriminatory towards them. Policies such as expensive renewal of visas are hindering the staff from integrating with their communities and doing their work. Some policies are hindering the university migrant staff from doing jobs in other institutions.

Interviews done by the guardian indicate that small tasks such as conducting Ph.D. viva exams now require migrant university staff to submit their passports. There is also heightened surveillance among these staff and the threat of being deported. The staff has argued that this is just xenophobic policies that are meant to disenfranchise them.

Claims of “xenophobia”

The Home Office has also been accused of refusing visas to children of visa workers in the UK. Normally, this used to be a straight forward process, but now they had made the process much harder. The Home Office also denied university staff visas to academics working in the country and even their families.

To fight this xenophobia, these university staffs are now refusing to volunteer their passports for checks when they want to work at other universities. Some of them are also urging their managers to support them against xenophobia. They are also urging these managers to help them in settling their visas and immigration fees.

Chris Chambers, an Australian and professor of cognitive neuroscience at Cardiff University, when asked to submit his passport for checks before being allowed for lecture refused. He termed the move as discriminatory and ended up not attending the event.

Chambers argued that although these universities might want to help them, they are afraid of breaking the Home Office rules which would come at a hefty price. The result is that these universities are now being forced to have regulations that, in essence, spell xenophobia. This is just not something they are willing to go against nor have the power to say no to and it was up to these immigrant university staff to fight the discriminatory laws.

The visa cost per year has also risen with some spending more than £10,000 ($12,900). This has put a financial strain on this staff with some opting the easier way out of quitting.

The university staff has asked for these legislations that have xenophobia sentiments to be overturned. They have argued that targetting them will harm the UK education market. They have also indicated that getting support from their places of work will go a long way in convincing them they are supported in what they do.

What is “xenophobia”?

Someone who suffers from xenophobia, a fear of foreigners or strangers, is likely to see them as antagonistic to her/his own plans and aspirations. Most likely, she/he will be derisive or conflicted in working or associating with them for unknown reasons.

Xenophobia has its roots in fear — literally. Phobia comes from the Greek word meaning “fear” and xeno- comes from the Greek word for”stranger, a foreigner.” Like racism which is fear by the color of the skin, xenophobia is fearing or distrusting people due to their nationality, or because they are foreign to you.

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