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Home AGM

Annual General Meeting 2017


Chair's report

AISA Executive

The Executive this year has consisted of:

  • Sally Saca - Oxford Brookes University, Co chair
  • Emma Gwynnett-Davies - University of Swansea, Co chair
  • Sarah Sherwin - University of Bristol, Secretary
  • Farooq Shah – Swansea University, Treasurer
  • Jessica Scott - University of Bath, Regions Coordinator
  • David Barrott - University of Sheffield
  • Karen Griffith - Leeds Beckett University
  • Azadeh Madanian Mohammadi - University of Sheffield
  • Atif Butt - University of the Arts
  • Will Burton - UKCISA attending member

AISA Executive membership

We had resignations from Jo Holliday, who had to step down as Chair due to leaving the University of Sheffield Students’ Union and Alan Edwards due to overstretching work commitments. Martin Donkin and Ina Wang also had to step down due to a change of jobs. We are grateful for their contribution to AISA during the time they were on the committee.


As a result of the above we have a number of vacancies which we need to fill and are delighted to have had a good response for nominations with a total of five people putting themselves forward for the places available. All members have been balloted and the results will be announced at the AGM on Monday 15 May.

Strategic objectives 2016/17

  1. Strengthening and developing communication and providing more opportunities for members to network on line as well as during regional meetings.
  2. Developing training which can enable ISA’s to skills themselves up to participate in wider discussions within their Institutions.
  3. Contributing to the lobbying that is carried out by UKCISA by gaining views from our members that are working directly with international students and feeding them into meetings with UKCISA and via the UKCISA Executive Board.

Key outputs

  1. At the UKCISA national conference 2016 a session on feedback from the survey we ran.
  2. At the UKCISA national conference 2016 a joint session with ICN on the UKCISA code of ethics.
  3. Training day ‘A working plan: safely supporting international student employability’.
  4. AISA Connect.


On 13 January 2017 we held our annual training ‘A working plan: safely supporting international student employability’ at Oxford Brookes. The training included Nichola Carter highlighting key areas of UKVI concern around employability. As well as interactive discussion relating to international students’ queries relating to employment issues, there were presentations about the Brookes Tier 5 internship scheme and how that was set up, examples of Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur schemes and a session looking at other employment opportunities that don’t relate to the tiers. There were over 40 attending the training and the feedback was very positive. Some of the positive comments we received were ‘Extremely good value. Good venue’, ‘Well structured day’ and ‘Sessions were good and all the presenters very engaging’. It was great to see colleagues from careers services at the training as it provided a useful insight into different ways of working with international students and how our services can work together in the future.

UKCISA National Conference

For this year’s conference we will be running a session that is joint with ICN and UKCISA on ‘when the going gets tough…’ and where is the best place to go and get advice. We will also be running a session on ‘Networking and Communication’ and hosting the drinks reception on Wednesday night with ICN.


The latest version of AISA Connect dated January 2017 is available on the AISA website.


A member of the AISA exec attends UKCISA Board meetings.

Emma Gwynnett-Davies
AISA Executive Co Chair
May 2017

Treasurer's report

Since 2015, AISA Executive committee has been working hard to bring financial stability to AISA. Following a deficit of £1,416 in 2015, AISA Executives decided to increase the membership fees to £50 in 2016 as well as focussed on increasing member’s participation at AISA Annual conference and training days. .

The Executive Committee has also taken on board the feedback received from the 2015 Conference and has tried to offer a programme this year which is close to our members and their institutions’ priorities. We hope this has enabled more of our members to attend the conference today, as members’ engagement with our national events is important to us, both in terms of our contribution to their professional development and the support it brings to our association.

AISA started 2016 with a balance of £7,552 and had a closing balance of £9,708. This represents a surplus of £2,157 which was mainly due to an increase in income from membership fees. In 2016, we raised £11,338 through membership fees as oppose to £8,800 in 2015. The total income in 2016 was £18,128 (£11,900 in 2015) and total expenses were £15,971 (£13,315 in 2015). Apart from revenues from membership fees, income and expenses from other sources such as AISA annual conference, training days and regional expenses were stable as higher expenses for one activity were balanced out by lower expenses in other activities..

Although, AISA had a surplus in 2016, the figures from first quarter of 2017 indicate a significant drop in membership income. AISA will need its member’s support in ensuring that all members renew their membership and encourage new colleagues in their departments to join AISA. AISA committee will continue to review the financial situation to ensure AISA has sufficient reserves to support its members.

If you would like to look at the AISA annual accounts in more detail, these will be available in the Resources section of the website.

Finally, I would like to thank Judy Theophanous, Finance Administrator at UKCISA for all her help with our financial affairs and to William Burton for his continued administrative support with our activities.

Farooq Shah
AISA Treasurer
May 2017

Regions report

There are a total of 259 AISA members representing 120 different institutions.

There are 5 active ASIA regions* meeting twice a year, following a general pattern of annual meetings in May and November. Discussions this year have been centred on the clarification of April 2016 immigration rule changes on academic progression and changing courses and the practical implications such as advice for applying overseas and CAS issuing. The complexities of these rule changes have meant discussions continued into the November meetings, and continue still.

All regions have had successful guest speaker sessions, comprising primarily representatives from UKVI, but also the Director of Student Services at the University of Hull who was able to share her experience as a Research supervisor, a representative from UKCISA and the Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration.

Immigration thrives as the key focus of member discussions. Some lively discussion was nonetheless had amongst the South West and Wales members around non-immigration issues and the changes taking place across some institutions in the provision of student experience activities from International Student Advisers.

Encouragingly many agenda items have centred on the sharing of good practice and ideas on how to enhance immigration advice provision to students, as well as maintaining good compliance. There are many common themes such as processes for checking bank statements for applicants and for in country applications, refusals and refusal rates and the application of changes to immigration rules. Members continue to report that support from other ASIA members is extremely valuable and helps them enormously with their roles.

The introduction of the AISA LinkedIn group has been well received, with members beginning to join and network using this platform. It is hoped that this will continue to be a useful resource for advisers.

London and South East

London and South East met 28 November 2016 at Imperial College, with 34 members attending. Key topics included how to sway the compliance team’s opinion when advocating for a student to be granted a CAS under problematic circumstances such as a criminal conviction. There was also lively discussion from everyone regarding the delays experienced over the summer period / start of term in receiving biometrics letters and BRPs. The April / November changes also provided a heavy topic of conversation. It was noted that there have been few problems with the right to rent scheme, and that in-country credibility interviews are hardly ever happening now. Some discussion around residence permit applications for EU students.

The region also met 10 March 2017 at International Students’ House, with 40 members attending.

Guest speakers included the Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, David Bolt, and Deepa Chadha from UKCISA, who presented on EU nationals.

North & Midlands

The North and Midlands region met 23 May 2016 at Loughborough University, with 16 members attending. Key topics were academic progression and the responsibility for students once they have finished their course. Oliver Rae and other colleagues from UKVI attended and ran a question and answer session after a presentation on developments to the services and the range of cases they are required to deal with on a daily basis.

The region also met 15 November 2016 at the University of Sheffield, with 13 members attending. Useful discussions were had sharing best practice on various topics such as checking bank statements, working with banks and issuing pre-CAS checks, and sharing experiences of evidential flexibility and working with UKVI caseworkers – experiences are varied. Other discussions centred on November 2016 rule changes.

Southwest and Wales

Southwest and Wales met 13 May 2016 at Cardiff University, with 20 members attending. Key topics were the eligibility of students to apply for visas from the UK (especially those studying sub-degree courses) and what is deemed a criminal conviction and declaring this on the online form. Owen Thomas, University Liaison Officer, Premium Service Centre, Cardiff, attended and did a question and answer session with members. Discussions centred on the new online form and associated glitches and new rules on academic progression, particularly those students studying below degree level (and having to apply overseas).

This region met again 25 November 2016 at the University of Bath, with 24 members attending. Key topics were: dealing with overseas applications, short term study visas and student experience activities. Discussions centred on members’ experiences from the recent pre-sessional surge and some of the ongoing issues around course changes and academic progression – there has been a rise in queries relating to students applying for visas overseas and the use of the short term study route. Discussions also included some interesting non-immigration matters such as induction events and ‘International Weeks’ where HEI’s celebrate and promote the cultural diversity of their study and staff bodies and engagement with private Halls of Residence providers.

North East

The North East region met 20 May 2016 at the University of Leeds and 25 November 2016 at the University of Hull, with 11 members attending.p p<>At the November meeting, Dr Anji Gardiner, Director of Student Services from the University of Hull, welcomed the delegates and shared her experiences of supporting international students as a research supervisor. Discussions then focused on different provision of support for students making applications, both in country and overseas, and inconsistencies in the curtailment processes from UKVI. Most members however reported positive working relationships with PAMS.

South Coast

This region met on 16 June 2016 at the University of Winchester, with 10 members attending. Two UKVI representatives attended – Neil Fletcher (UKVI Tier 4 Sponsors Premium Customer Service Team Manager) and Dave Cook (UKVI PAM for University of Winchester). UKVI presented and took questions for an hour and members found it interesting and were pleased UKVI were invited. Other topics discussed included UKVI audits and academic progression. Members were frustrated by the lack of clarification from the UKVI policy team at that stage.

The region met again on 28 February 2017 at the University of Portsmouth, with 10 members attending. Key topics discussed were attendance monitoring and how each institution manages this very differently, refusals and administrative reviews (how much support is provided to students).

Wales and North Coast

This region was established in 2016 but unfortunately has been inactive for some time and not had any meetings. It is therefore proposed that the region is removed as an official region. Colleagues from the region will be able to join the North and Midlands region and South West and Wales region.

Our thanks go to Alan Edwards who has been in post as regional chair.

Meeting dates and summaries

These will continue to be posted on the AISA website.

AISA Executive

P<>The AISA Executive Committee would like to thank all the Regional Chairs for their continued hard work and commitment throughout the year to AISA and the regions. Particular thanks go to Sarah Sherwin, who dedicated her time to the role of Regional Co-ordinator until recently, and who continues to serve the AISA Executive Committee as Secretary.

Thanks also to both UKCISA and the UKVI for their support to AISA. This year has seen formal communication links built upon with UKCISA to give Regional Chairs the opportunity to raise issues affecting regional members as a group. UKVI has also continued the direct link with the Regional Chairs offering to attend meetings to give updates and question and answer sessions.

Finally, our thanks go to all AISA members for attending regional meetings and sharing their expertise and concerns with fellow advisers in a supportive environment. The AISA Executive Committee welcomes contributions from all our members on how we can work together and support each other.

* It is proposed that Wales and North Coast is removed from the official regions as it has remained inactive since being established last year.

Jessica Scott
AISA Executive Regional Co-ordinator
March 2016