Resources for Rotarians to lobby their MP about the current visa problems for Rotary Youth Exchange students
Visa Problems for Long Term Exchange students
Under the new immigration rules, secondary school students from outside the EU are no longer able to obtain entry into this country to attend a state-maintained school for an academic year on recognised student exchange programmes. This affects any Rotary Long Term Youth Exchange student coming to the UK from outside the EU - including those from the USA, Canada, Brazil, Australia, etc.
This problem is an unintended consequence of the new points-based immigration system. Representations were made by the RIBI Districts Youth Exchange Association to the Minister for Borders and Immigration, Phil Woolas and, on 28th August 2009, the UK Borders Agency introduced a temporary concession for students to attend state-maintained schools on exchange or educational visits. However, the maximum stay was limited to six months and so this concession does not address the issue as far as Rotary Youth Exchange is concerned.
Further efforts to pursue this have been hampered by various sections within the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF), each claiming that a different section has responsibility for this case - a classic example of Civil Service "buck-passing"!
A letter has now been sent to the Prime Minister, asking him to intervene to resolve the issue and UK Rotarians are now asked to help the case by writing to their MP. A template letter is available below for download, as is also a very useful information sheet on Rotary Youth Exchange that can be used in support.
Please seriously consider helping the cause.
Template Letter to MP.doc
What is Youth Exchange.pdf