Following policy passed at the 2003 annual general meeting, NPC has resolved to oppose the visa extension charges, which will have significant impact on international postgraduates. The home office and the department for education and skills have both been written to with an outline of the main problems this new charge will cause to international postgraduates. The points raised are listed below:
- Where permission may not be given to extend to the end of the course, especially where extensions are required due to unforeseen circumstances including health, exam deferral, dissertation delays and emergency visits home this will create a number of unexpected costs.
- Graduation ceremonies often take place several months after the course completion so that attendance is not financially viable.
- Research students will repeatedly need to extend their visa, and also will require extensions should they go into writing up mode.
- Dates for viva examinations (which will not be determined until around the time of submission) could be several months after thesis submission.
- Undergraduates will not know of the possibility of continuing to postgraduate study until graduation so therefore extension charges are necessary, and will bear consequences when choosing to continue.
- Marketability of postgraduate courses in the UK will fall, not only being a threat to the country's economy but a threat to the choice for international postgraduates. Postgraduate education especially is high in cost, which will be a great burden for international students expected to pay such fees.
- For research students wishing to undertake a placement whos visa runs out before their placement ends, it becomes impossible for them to renew it since they are not able to do so before undertaking the placement. This therefore has serious effect on the mobility of research students.
These points have been relayed with a note of disappointment over the fact that not even the idea of a season ticket for research students knowing they will need to regularly extend their visa. The letters conclude with appealing to overturn the decision made by the home office.