Why are we doing this work?

International Students make a huge percentage and contribution to UAL, and we want to campaign for them to be valued and celebrated by the institution. In recent years, IS have seen rapidly rising fees, and COVID-19 has only exacerbated existing issues, such as rental discrepencies, access to resources and difficulties studying remotely and in a second-language.

Research has also shown that international students get little support post-HE, as they navigate visas, careers and housing.This priority falls alongside the Students’ Union’s ongoing work on Decolonisation. A significant proportion of international students are from BAME (Black, Asian and minority ethnic) backgrounds, which is why better support for these students should be essential to UAL’s anti-racism strategy.

We want to tackle these barriers! The current Officer Team will be building on the wins of previous Welfare Officer Pinky Latt, who achieved Arts SU funded visa expenses for International Sabbatical Officers, opening the UAL Hardship Fund to International Students and a more inclusive curriculum for ESL speakers.  


What are our primary goals and objectives for this Academic Year?

  • Improved Careers Opportunities for International Students, with policies around freelancing and working hours which do not marginalize these students.

  • Revised and standardised UAL-wide policy around Attendance Monitoring.

  • Lobby UAL for a fee freeze, or an increase tied to inflation, for International Students.

  • Launch ‘Before, During & Beyond UAL’ programme for international students, to access support around visas, housing and careers, as well as to build social networks.


What are we working on?

What is the project: What have we achieved: What is in the pipeline:

Focus on working rights for International Students (Freelancing/Hourly Contracts Policy)

/ NUS Conference – International Students as a priority

We have submitted a policy around Working Rights for International Students to NUS Conference, seeking their support to launch the campaign on a national level. Working with Brenda Hernandez Gonzalez, who has led the campaign, we are advocating for improved freelancing rights for international students, alongside flexible hourly contracts within HE (not fixed due to international visa limits).

NUS Conference will be taking place Monday 28th – Tuesday 29th March, and we will then be publishing a follow-up web article.

We have also reached out to the Careers Service to offer tailored careers support workshops to International Students.

Ensuring Attendance Monitoring Policy does not disproportionately affect International Students.

UAL are in the process of writing a new Attendance Monitoring policy which could disproportionately affect International Students. Our Advice & Policy Team have sat on UAL working groups to ensure that Arts SU can effectively advocate for students and represent their voice.

Advice & Policy Team to feedback to Campaigns/Sabbatical Team on updates with standardised attendance monitoring policy.

Advice & Policy are putting together support guides for International Students, so they know what is available to them.

Lobbying UAL for a fee freeze, or an increase tied to inflation, for International Students. More tailored support/bursaries.

Our Advice & Policy team are currently working on a research project to highlight fee increases against international student satisfaction, international student support, attainment gaps and inflation.

Organising paid consultations with International Students (see right).

Delivering research project before beginning of Term 3. We will then be running paid, to ensure that the research best represents their views, and to locate any outstanding gaps for further research into Int’l student experience.

Continuing to advocate for tailored support package for EU students (‘widening participation' approach to International Student Bursaries).

Launch ‘Before, During & Beyond UAL’ programme for international students, to access support around visas, housing and careers, as well as to build social networks.

From January 2022, we will be reintroducing International Student Forums, alongside our new Student Termly Forums, to ensure international students have a platform to speak about the issues affecting them.

We want to see pro-bono visa and legal support, alongside a commitment from UAL to International Student Scholarships.

We are looking to work with the Careers Service, to see what tailored support they can offer International Students.


Want to chat to one of our Officers about how you can get involved in this campaign?

A photo of Syahadah, who is wearing a red top.                          

Syahadah Shahril, Campaigns Officer               Rachel Williams, Education Officer