Thursday 20-10-2016 - 15:25
"Foreign worker lists – whether names or numbers, public or private – are not acceptable”
Following an alarming increase in anti-immigration rhetoric in recent weeks, NUS Scotland President Vonnie Sandlan has written to all college and university Principals in Scotland asking them to stand up against UK Government proposals for foreign worker lists.
It follows a debate in the House of Commons on Wednesday 19 October where the UK Government voted down a motion guaranteeing EU nationals in the UK their current rights, following Brexit.
NUS Scotland and students’ associations across the country are asking that institutions do not comply with any request to monitor or list non-UK staff. The campaign has so far attracted support from colleges and universities, including Craig Mahoney, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of the West of Scotland, and Stewart McKillop, Principal of South Lanarkshire College.
In the letter, Vonnie Sandlan wrote: “Over the last week we’ve seen anti-immigrant rhetoric from the Tory UK Government reach new lows. At Tory conference, we saw Ministers proposing a foreign workers’ list that, if implemented, would see all businesses in the UK being required to give the government details of all the foreign workers they employ.
In the days that have followed, the UK Government has attempted to play down this attack on foreign workers with Defence Secretary Michael Fallon saying firms could be asked “simply to report their numbers”. A consultation on the proposals is expected to begin later this year.
Let’s be clear: these lists – whether names or numbers, public or private – are not acceptable.
It’s time for us to take a stand and tell the UK Government that we will play no part in this attempt to sew division in our communities and country.
Foreign nationals living in Scotland are more than just a number. They are our colleagues, lecturers, fellow students and friends.
NUS Scotland is today writing to you, and to every college and university Principal in Scotland to ask that our institutions do not comply with any request to monitor or list non-UK staff.
Your institution can help make a collective stand against xenophobia.
I look forward to receiving your response and hope we can work together on this issue."
The UK Government has said a consultation on the proposals will be launched later this year. NUS Scotland will be calling on all further and higher education institutions in Scotland to respond to the consultation stating their opposition to the introduction of lists monitoring foreign workers and students.