Sem­i­nar­ies face en­try tests for for­eign pupils

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY SI­MON ROCKER

NEW IM­MI­GRA­TION rules could make it harder for stu­dents from abroad to study at yeshivot and sem­i­nar­ies in the UK.

In fu­ture, ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions will need to be li­censed with the new Border and Im­mi­gra­tion Agency (BIA) in or­der to take stu­dents from out­side the Euro­pean Union.

They will also have to show proof of in­spec­tion from of­fi­cial bod­ies such as Of­sted or the Qual­ity As­sur­ance Agency for Higher Ed­u­ca­tion.

Mi­choel Posen, di­rec­tor of the strictly Ortho­dox Agu­das Is­rael Com­mu­nity Ser­vices in Lon­don, said: “It ap­pears that there are go­ing to be many more re­quire­ments that yeshiv­ahs and sem­i­nar­ies will have to com­ply with, in or­der that stu­dents will be el­i­gi­ble to ob­tain visas.”

He es­ti­mated that around 100 stu­dents from Is­rael or North Amer­ica were study­ing at Ortho­dox in­sti­tu­tions in the UK.

The new guide­lines, pub­lished by the BIA at the end of last week, are due to come into ef­fect in Fe­bru­ary. Li­censed in­sti­tu­tions could face spot checks from im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cials at any time.

But al­ready, un­der ex­ist­ing border con­trols, there have been re­ports of Ortho­dox tourists ex­pe­ri­enc­ing dif­fi­culty on en­try and even be­ing sent home by im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cials.

“What seems to us is that more and more peo­ple are be­ing turned back,” said a spokesman for the So­ci­ety for the Wel­fare of Jewish Pris­on­ers, an Ortho­dox char­ity which also deals with cases of peo­ple de­tained un­der en­try reg­u­la­tions.

In one case, a man risked be­ing de­tained over Shab­bat un­til of­fi­cials re­lented so that he was al­lowed to spend it in North Lon­don un­til be­ing put on a flight back to Is­rael.

The so­ci­ety has now is­sued guide­lines for Is­raelis and oth­ers to avoid prob­lems when com­ing as tourists.

Vis­i­tors may be asked whether they have a re­turn ticket or enough money to cover their stay in the UK, and should know that they can­not do even un­paid work here.

“Peo­ple should be aware of the ba­sic guide­lines be­fore they come to the UK,” the SWJP spokesman said.

Mean­while, the new BIA rules for po­ten­tial eco­nomic mi­grants con­tain spe­cial pro­vi­sion for “re­li­gious work­ers”, who will need to be “en­dorsed by the ap­pro­pri­ate UK faith body, demon­strat­ing that he or she is an es­tab­lished re­li­gious worker over­seas”.

Jon Ben­jamin, di­rec­tor-gen­eral of the Board of Deputies, said: “We have been work­ing closely with the Home Of­fice on this, to help of­fi­cials un­der­stand the work­ings of our com­mu­nity, from Lib­eral to Charedi, and the im­pli­ca­tions of the new reg­u­la­tions.

We have also es­tab­lished a sys­tem of ac­cred­i­ta­tion by re­li­gious au­thor­i­ties from across the com­mu­nity, so we can reg­u­late who is ap­proved for en­try, both to our sat­is­fac­tion and that of the im­mi­gra­tion au­thor­i­ties.”

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