Student fears having to quit UK over uni marking boycott
Due to the boycott of exams marking, a Canadian exchange student fears she may have to leave Scotland without a degree.
22-year-old Emma MacKenzie has signed a lease on a flat and accepted a full-time job.
As the deadline for renewing her visa is 26 July, the Edinburgh University student is unable to do so.
There are thousands of students affected by the University and College Union’s (UCU) boycott at 145 institutions across the UK.
How does the boycott of university marking affect students?
A boycott response is a disgrace, say students
The university staff condemns the boycott response to marking
This summer, more than half a million graduation ceremonies could be affected by the union’s boycott, which started on 20 April.
The union has pledged to continue its action until employers make an improved offer about wages and conditions.
It is up to universities to decide how to mitigate the impact, so there will be a variety of effects on students.
Students at Edinburgh University said they received empty scrolls with an apology at their graduation on Tuesday.
There was also a protest outside McEwan Hall, where a graduation ceremony was taking place, in Bristo Square.
“We are deeply sorry that we weren’t able to protect our students from this UK-wide dispute,” a university spokeswoman said.
She said she was beginning to worry about having to return home, as she paid £4,700 in tuition fees and £1,000 for her visa.
“I’m having to accept the fact that I will have to return to Canada, it’s really upsetting,” she told BBC Scotland.
There has been a whirlwind of anxiety these past few weeks, and I feel out of control.
My education has been taken away from me. I have worked hard and paid for it. I feel I have been let down by the university. I have done everything asked of me.
During her undergraduate studies at Toronto University, Miss MacKenzie completed the first three years of her degree.
But now that her exchange visa is running out she wants to secure a High Potential Individual (HPI) visa.
Up to two years of residency is available to graduates from one of the world’s top 50 universities.
The dispute between UCU and employers has prevented students from receiving their full qualifications for nearly three months.
Since she has not received her final grades from Edinburgh University, Miss MacKenzie is not eligible for the undergraduate award she worked for at Toronto University.
As well as not providing her with projected grades, Edinburgh did not even provide a “Pass/Fail” note, which would have allowed her to apply for the HPI visa.
Several weeks have passed since I contacted the university about this issue.
Last time we spoke, I was told the university had received legal advice not to assist me and apologized for not being able to provide me with the information I sought.
The situation is very uncertain if nothing changes in the next few weeks.”
Miss MacKenzie said students had not been given any information that suggested when they could expect to receive their grade and is worried it could be months before she can apply for a visa.
She added: “Do I need to sublet the flat? Am I going to lose my flat altogether? My job? I don’t know what to tell them. It’s very, very disheartening.”