Resisting the Hostile Environment Policy inside UK Higher Education

9 June 2020


Venue: Mayday Rooms [online location]

Organiser: Sanaz Raji Unis Resist Border Controls

Unis Resist Border Controls (URBC) was formed in March 2016. We are a national campaign made up of an international collective of British, EU and non-EU migrant students, lecturers, university workers and migrant activists opposed to the hostile environment policy and border controls inside UK higher education.

Our hashtag, #BordersKillKnowledge we Illustrate the egregious moments in the UK where the recent intensification of the hostile environment has denied scholars (and thus all of us) the benefits that would have come from thinking together. Not coincidentally, this kind of denial seems to happen most frequently to scholars of African, Middle Eastern, Asian, and Latin American origin.

In our resistant workshop, we explore how non-EU and EU migrants have been exploited by both the Home Office and UK higher education institutions through the use of intensive attendance monitoring. This exploitation has created visible and invisible barriers. These barriers leave migrant students, lecturers, and university workers vulnerable to institutional racism and xenophobia, housing discrimination, health discrimination, surveillance, and poverty.

We will draw on examples of casework that we’ve done in addition to our recent study of how the hostile environment policy functions inside UK higher education. We will also discuss our new study on understanding how universities are incorporating further use of a variety of online technologies as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown, and what this means in relation to the hostile environment policy.

We encourage all students, lecturers, university workers & anti-racist activists to organise with us and fight against the incursion of more pernicious surveillance methods within your respective institutions that seek to criminalise and further oppress migrants, particularly those who are Black, Muslim, and PoC.