Keralite students in UK crying, begging for help for accommodation: How can we support them? Here are some tips
Friday 14 October 2022 6:32 AM UTC
By A Staff Reporter
LONDON October 12: Keralite students arriving in the UK are faced with a massive issue with finding their own accommodation for the duration of their studies in the UK.
This is due to the universities not being able to provide them all with their accommodation or because the accommodation they provide is too expensive for the student to afford. The problem becomes more complicated if the student has dependant such as their spouse and kids arriving with them.
Jayesh Pillai rang us this week crying for help. He is doing Masters in Law at a prestigious university in London. He is a genuine student who has come here to do his studies. However, he comes from a middle class family with not much financial backing. Therefore, he is trying to manage himself with the paltry income he can make from his 20 hours work.
He is living in a six bed house in London where each room has three students with one toilet for the whole building paying £350 per month. This means 18 students sharing just one toilet. Jayesh doesn’t have a problem with this as he just need to get up early to use the toilet. However, the issue is his landlord keeps bringing in different students at his will into his room and he keeps asking Jayesh to change the rooms. He is unable to do anything at his home at peace. He is not able to study, keep room clean or cant say that he has a space. He leaves the home each day and gets in in the evening. You can just call it a place where you go to rest at night and use the toilets. Jayesh has been making all efforts to get another place but there aren’t any. He is also suffering from depression.
Tarun Bose is a student at another university in Kent. Tarun never got a settled accommodation sorted since his arrival in Summer. He is allowed to use his friend’s room for sleeping at night and for using the toilets. His friend is allowing him to do this and is worried with what if the landlord comes to know about it. During the summer it was okay as he was able to spend his time outdoors and also at some days sleeping in park benches. But the weather has changed and things have become much more serious with the September intake.
A businessman with close links with the student community said that students are sleeping on benches at Tube stations and parks overnight in East Ham. The situation is critical.
There are reports of students begging on the streets of London. We were sent a video of a student begging on the streets of London as he has run out of money. His parents wanted us to intervene and help him send back. The student, however, didn’t want to go back as he feared that his parents would felt let down by him.
It is not just the Keralite students who are struggling. Reports in the BBC yesterday said about the plight of students in general in the UK: “One firm told the BBC it was being inundated on a daily basis with people crying, unable to find somewhere to live. Some students have been using hostels and sleeping on common room floors, while others face long commutes”.
Following this website receiving several calls and also coming to know about the plight of Keralite students’ issues with accommodation we sought the advice from our community members and this is what they replied to us. All of them who replied to our query confirmed that the issue requires huge intervention from when their journey starts until they finally arrive in the UK and begin their studies. However, it was accepted by all that finding and securing accommodation is the sole responsibility of the student.
Nithin Raj Vice President at Anglia Ruskin University said: In my views any student looking to study in the UK need to secure an accommodation in a university for short period however, expensive it is. This will help the student to understand the situation here, get acclimatised, learn ground realities and then take the first step towards securing an alternative accommodation. It is a not an easy task to come here and then find accommodations as it would be impossible to secure an accommodation at short notice on arrival. Therefore, advice need to be given to those students who are planning to come here to arrange accommodation prior to their arrival. The best option is to ensure that you obtain the university accommodation for a short period however, the cost is as it will help to settle safely.
Seema Varun from Kent said: “Definitely it is university’s responsibility to help students with accommodation as they are getting more money from international students. They should build more accommodations for international students. University offer accommodation for one year for all new students but most international students won’t prefer to stay university accommodation because rent is high compared to the rent offered by private landlords. Few accommodations are available for family as well . Private landlord shouldn’t be asking three to four months rent as deposit. If they ask for a guarantor then university should act as a guarantor.
Another reply said as below
1. Before traveling to the UK make sure your accommodation is confirmed (The majority of the people are coming to the country without a proper plan Including me) and don’t wait until the last second to search for a room because it’s very very difficult to get a room in a peak time.( I am still searching a room).
2. Try to come alone because individuals can adjust to room sharing or bed space sharing and they can find a room easily but if it is a family it would be difficult to get a suitable room on the spot)Once the accommodation confirmed, Immediately they can bring their families and can avoid the interruption.
3. If you got a room then try to finalize immediately and if not required share with others .
4. This is a major issue, We have to give a detailed appeal to the government officials because the crowd is beyond our control. The government can easily manage the crowd ( They have the details of the new visa and they have the details of the total houses/flats/hotels and the total population).
5.Officials should give strict instructions to the 3rd party study /recruiting agencies to help students /professionals to find a room( Especially students) They should implement a right way to find room .
6.Finally, a good online app is required (exclusively for Asians and Indians ) According to my experience response from Rightmove, SpareRoom, and Roomster are very poor.
Sumith Vijay Athippillil from London said: The agency and the university should take responsibility as the students are coming under their sponsorship
Jayalekha from Croydon asks students to enquire about the student hardship fund. The Student Hardship Fund (SHF) is provided by the University to help students who are experiencing genuine and unavoidable financial difficulties and are struggling with their living costs. Any registered student may apply for an emergency loan as long as it can be proved that there is an ongoing delay with their student finance, or their unexpected situation could not be avoided. Check with the respective university. Also, ask them to help them secure an accommodation.
Aneesh John from Leicester sent us this link and asked students to familiarise with this information which is valuable for them to make informed decisions.
Almost all UK universities make explicit use of international student recruitment agents to achieve their objectives. The British Council, the Quality Assurance Agency and the UK Council for International Student Affairs all provide some guidance on the use of agents and the British Council in particular has in recent years put a great deal of effort into the training of agents. But unlike the position in some other countries such as Australia and New Zealand, there is no national framework or rules governing the way universities work with agents in the UK. Each UK university which works with agents has its own policies and procedures, framework for relationships and commission rates.
Baiju Santhaseelan from East Ham says: The issue can only be addressed by educating them about the issues they may face when they come to the UK. For a start I think they should not bring their families straight away. Those with kids would struggle much more. They should come sort out accommodation and then bring them along. It is time the agents become more responsible in advising students coming to the UK. They should take care when advising students about job prospects, accommodation and work. Then there are the Youtubers who give all the wrong picture stating that finding accommodation an getting jobs are easy and that they can easily pay off the loans. Each council has a register to check if a property is registered to be let out on a licence (shared). It is wise to check this before you sign the licence agreement. They can check license on council register to see if the property has “selective license” or “HMO” – multiple occupancy. If it is selective license and they are putting more than 3 strangers then it is illegal. Every council has such register.
Rajeev Kumar says: Get NORKA to mass procure or mass negotiate with corporate student accommodation providers, whoever has UK wide presence, for some annual accommodation quota for students from Kerala. Someone coming in student visa to UK with wife/husband and a few months old baby is a very daring move indeed. How and why do they do this taking such a stressful risk.
Badusha Karim Croydon: It is very unfair to the students; the consulate should help students secure their accommodation for at least six months at a reasonable price before granting a visa!
Jayachandran CK Croydon: The issues are multifield. Top three issues and solutions are
1. Consulate or an entity assigned by consulate (like MAUK) should ensure by rule a formal registration of each student… This will ensure traceability.
2. Consulate should be able to be a referee for any accommodation purposes… Many students will need a guarantor (India govt should get financial assurance from the parent or guardian in India for the financial exposure in case of default) for any private accommodation.
3. India govt should ensure forceful regulation of agents for universities to ensure student Room accommodation by concerned university.
Unknown Reader: This is a serious problem which is going on now.
Especially family with kids are not getting any properties.. and available ones are with rent above 1000+bills… Either have to find jobs to meet this for time being, or search for sharing accommodation, go and ask in direct and talk to estate agents than talking over phone.. share genuine property available if aware in group.
Sidheeq from Birmingham says: “We have representatives from different organisations here Suggestion 1
Each organisation rent few properties and accommodate students there.
We can charge students rent, bills and if any maintenance charge not big commission amounts agents charge
We need a minimum contract term with each students otherwise if they suddenly vacate we will end in debit.
Mini Raghavan: They should make arrangements before they arrive in the UK. Norka should get actively involved in process from the beginning till end of each journey. There should be tight regulations for agents who are excessively involved with human embargo.
Jacob Chacko from Kent says: “I’m still lost by the flaws in the system. As far I understood or my previous experience, Before you leave the port of disembark you have to provide your address. I’m very furious about people trying to tarnish UK’s credibility going live on tv shows about students wandering from streets to streets, living on caravan’s etc.It’s worst than Middle East. It’s like space sharing. Why is the council not getting involved. Hosing inspectors should make corrective measures when a house is filled with more than 10 tenants.
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