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Home AGM

Annual General Meeting 2018

Sections

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
  • Kate Walker – Kings College London
  • Bethan Ovens – London School of Economics
  • Polly Penter – City University
  • Kris Deng – Salford University
  • Will Burton - UKCISA attending member

AISA Executive membership

We have welcomed 4 new members to the team, Kate Walker - University of the Arts, Bethan Ovens - LSE, Polly Penter - City University and Kris Deng - University of Salford. They are already actively contributing to the work of AISA. Kate hosted this year’s training session at Kings, Bethan and Polly are contributing to sessions today and Kris has been active developing the AISA website.

Elections

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 2017/18

  1. To launch a new website that allows members to communicate, share ideas and build a tools kit that members can access.
  2. To continue to support our regions and provide new initiatives to encourage more colleagues to join AISA. We have created a leaflet outlining the benefits of being a member that can be used to show management why being a member will benefit the institution. We aim to contact institutions that do not currently members have any members to promote the benefits.
  3. Developing training which can enable ISA’s to skills themselves up to participate in wider discussions within their Institutions.
  4. 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. Training day ‘Working with vulnerable students: Supporting international students in crisis’ - Kings College London, 27 November 2017
  2. AISA Annual Conference, ‘Off the beaten track: exploring non Tier 4 immigration routes, 27 April 2018
  3. UKCISA annual conference – Thursday 28th June – Session D1 ‘AISA: The benefits of joining our networking community’

Training

Our November training day, which focused on vulnerable students and supporting students in crisis, and took place at Kings College London. It was very well attended and received lots of positive feedback. Those attending benefited from the trainer’s wealth of experience, which included lots of useful examples and good ideas of how best to approach difficult circumstances.

Newsletter

The latest version of AISA Connect dated March 2018 is available on the AISA website.

Representation

A member of the AISA exec attending the UKCISA Board meetings. 

Emma Gwynnett-Davies and Sally Saca
AISA Executive Co Chairs
April 2018

Treasurer's report

For the last two years, AISA is ending their financial year with a surplus which is helping us to main a reserve of around £12,000. AISA started 2017 with a balance of £9,708 and had a closing balance of £12,548. This represents a surplus of £2, 840 in 2017.

AISA Executives organised two training sessions and a conference in 2017. Considering the AISA financial situation, the executive committee focussed on maximizing the attendance of members at these events. Both training days and conference was well attended, therefore, we generated a surplus of £2,857 from these events. There was a significant drop in income from membership fees which was down to £9,970 in 2017 as opposed to £11,338. There seems to be further drop in membership fees income in first quarter of 2018, therefore, committee would need to work on ways to recruit new members. There was a slight increase in costs to UKCISA and Regional meeting expenses, however, this was offset by reduction in Executive Committee expenses. The committee in 2017 were down to £2,138 from £3,653 in 2016 thus it helped to generate an overall surplus £2,840 in 2017

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
April 2018

Regions report

There are a total of 260 AISA members representing 113 different institutions.

There are 5 active ASIA regions meeting twice, sometimes three times a year. There are currently 260 AISA members and membership numbers have encouragingly remained consistent this year despite a dip last year. However, the number of institutions represented overall has continued to decline, albeit by only 7 this year compared with losing 18 in 2017. It has been noted that there is limited representation from FE institutions and colleagues.

Discussions this year have continued to be centred on immigration and the sharing of good practice to manage immigration rules and UKVI process changes. Recurring themes across the regions include lost BRPs, concerns around on-shoring, the volume of incorrect decisions and the correction process, DES timings and, notably, police registration (and the work that this creates given the shortage of police staff operating this). More recent meetings have had lively discussions around the introduction of Tier 4 part time and the changes to the Short Term Study route.

There have been significantly less guest speakers this year, with no representation from UKVI at meetings (one region however welcomed the team leader for the ATAS team whose presentation was well received).

Many advisers remain keen to discuss non-immigration matters and as such topics such as pre-arrival support and information, cultural awareness and specific international student issues continue to be raised.

Encouragingly many agenda items continue to bring out the sharing of good practice and some excellent ideas on how to enhance immigration advice provision to students, as well as maintaining good compliance.

Members continue to report that support from other ASIA members is extremely valuable and helps them enormously with their roles.

London and South East

Chair: Christian Adams

London and South East met on 5th June 2017 at the University of Brighton, 6th December 2017 at Imperial College London and 19th March 2018.

Topics at the June meeting related to the impact of immigration rules changes that had affected members over the previous year, such as for course changes, the calculation of maintenance for dependants and overstayers.

The meeting in December was attended by Kevin Curran, the then team leader for ATAS. Kevin gave a helpful presentation and provided the opportunity for Q & A afterwards. Other business included police registration and the work this creates, on-shoring, lost BRPs, difficulties about numbers of incorrect decisions and reconsiderations v administrative review process.

The most recent meeting was in March 2018 and discussions centred on recent immigration changes such as Tier 4 part time, the removal of the BRP (RC) online form, the new Access Tier 4 form and Tier 2 changes. Course changes and when students can apply for their visa was still a matter of confusion.

The next meeting for this region will be in June 2018 at the University of Brighton.

North & Midlands

Chair: Laura Bryan

The North and Midlands region met 24th November 2017 at the University of Manchester. Their next meeting is 20th April 2018 (after the submission date of this report) at the University of Salford.

There were some interesting discussions around all agenda items and useful ideas for various issues. Agenda items included: which staff assign CASs, calculating DES end dates and monitoring the degree award date, changing to a lower course level and applications made after April 2016, lost BRPs, EVWs, resits and police registration. Police registration and how time consuming it is was a particularly hot topic, as were lost BRPS and looking at ideas for trying to prevent this in such large numbers. Non immigration topics included HOST and the engagement of students to lead on events in order to appeal to larger numbers of students.

Southwest and Wales

Chair: Abbie Lacey

The June meeting was held at Cardiff University, with 17 members attending. Key topics were the OISC Code of Standards and compliance with this. It was noted that some institutions are undergoing OISC training and exams with a view to a broader knowledge base in preparation for advising EU students. There were a lot of topics on the agenda – a mix between immigration advice (study and non-study, such as DES and Tier 5 GAE), compliance and the sharing of best practice on CRMs and the collection of statistics.

The December meeting was held at Plymouth University, with 10 members attending (lower numbers possibly due to travel distance to Plymouth). Discussions centred on members’ ongoing challenges around post-April 2016 changes and advising for entry clearance applications. Other key topics were student changes of circumstances, concerns about on-shoring of overseas visa applications, advising EU students and non-immigration topics such as cultural awareness training.

North East

Chair: Ting Chen

The North East region met on 7th December 2017 at the University of Sheffield with 10 members attending. It was not possible to organise another meeting as a result of the Chair’s unexpected illness.

The December meeting included much discussion around pre-arrival information and support both for visa applications and post-application. These discussions led on to different experiences with credibility refusals and more general processes for preventing further refusals. Other hot topics included Visa ‘batch’ applications, BRP deliveries, English assessments for DES and continuing students, errors on BRPs, Short Term Study visas and successes in Tier 1 GE route.

South Coast

Chair: Laura Ford / Päivi Leivo

This region met on 12 June 2017 at Bournemouth and Poole College, with 8 members attending representing 7 institutions. A good variety of topics were discussed, with immigration taking the majority of the time. With only one FE member there was a request for more FE institutions to join. There were some discussions around EU students and the great uncertainty of adviser roles and how to manage the increase in EU student enquiries. There was a request for UKCISA to provide more training and support for EU related enquiries. Discussions on the new UKVI dial-in service concluded that the dial-in was not particularly helpful as members could not feed into the live dial-in.

The region met again on 21 November 2017 at the University of Chichester, with 9 members attending. This was a varied meeting with topics ranging from internet access in China to referrals to the property ombudsman in dispute situations. Immigration matters looked like a prominent part of the meeting based on the agenda, but the meeting wasn’t overbearingly immigration focused. It was noted that there were no FE colleges present. Immigration matters discussed included the ‘highly likely to succeed’ letter for Masters students.

This region met a third time on 28 February 2018 at the University of Southampton, with 12 members attending. At this meeting, a UKCISA conference session, ‘The use of technology as a tool to deliver a high volume of successful visa extensions’ was presented by Monika Materna-Brossier and Ellinore Jawed-Gibson. Members found this very interesting and were able to take away useful examples and ideas. There were best practice discussions around visa application postage charges, Tier 4 exchange student monitoring, identifying disability or special needs students in advance of meetings, GDPR changes, Tier 4 part time study route (not being advertised by many institutions), orientation programmes and whether institutions charge (some do), self-employment and business activity, single CASs.

Meeting dates and summaries

These will continue to be posted on the AISA website.

Thank you from the AISA Executive Committee

This region met on 12 June 2017 at Bournemouth and Poole College, with 8 members attending representing 7 institutions. A good variety of topics were discussed, with immigration taking the majority of the time. With only one FE member there was a request for more FE institutions to join. There were some discussions around EU students and the great uncertainty of adviser roles and how to manage the increase in EU student enquiries. There was a request for UKCISA to provide more training and support for EU related enquiries. Discussions on the new UKVI dial-in service concluded that the dial-in was not particularly helpful as members could not feed into the live dial-in.

The region met again on 21 November 2017 at the University of Chichester, with 9 members attending. This was a varied meeting with topics ranging from internet access in China to referrals to the property ombudsman in dispute situations. Immigration matters looked like a prominent part of the meeting based on the agenda, but the meeting wasn’t overbearingly immigration focused. It was noted that there were no FE colleges present. Immigration matters discussed included the ‘highly likely to succeed’ letter for Masters students.

This region met a third time on 28 February 2018 at the University of Southampton, with 12 members attending. At this meeting, a UKCISA conference session, ‘The use of technology as a tool to deliver a high volume of successful visa extensions’ was presented by Monika Materna-Brossier and Ellinore Jawed-Gibson. Members found this very interesting and were able to take away useful examples and ideas. There were best practice discussions around visa application postage charges, Tier 4 exchange student monitoring, identifying disability or special needs students in advance of meetings, GDPR changes, Tier 4 part time study route (not being advertised by many institutions), orientation programmes and whether institutions charge (some do), self-employment and business activity, single CASs.

Jessica Scott
AISA Executive Regional Co-ordinator
April 2018