The city of Southampton and the multi-cultural population that inhabits it has become the focus and case study of a new documentary broadcast by the BBC.
The programme, which seeks to explore the facts of immigration and explain why it has become such a politically decisive topic, has sparked a new debate about immigration led by the BBC and its political editor Nick Robinson who presents the programme.
The documentary, titled ‘The Truth About Immigration’, focuses on several areas of society, using the city of Southampton as a case study. The University of Southampton is also similarly used when looking at international students and the difficulties faced by them in scenes filmed during the summer graduations last summer.
The documentary also covers some of the pressures faced by international students, including the scrutiny over the award of student visas and the feeling that this has made international students feel unwelcome. The University’s Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Mark Spearing described the issue in the programme as “really quite damaging” saying that the issue “could have long term reputational effects for the UK and UK Higher Education.”
The issue of international students being unfairly disadvantaged in some aspects of life is also something that the Students Union has been focusing on itself. The documentary comes only days after the announcement that the University has ended variable fees for international students, which saw the tuition fees of over half of international students rising by more than £1,000 between years of study. This change is said to not affect the University’s finances and is believed will only improve the image of higher education in the eyes of international students.
The documentary, however, has certainly got the public talking with the associated article of the BBC News website, reporting on the interviews featured in the programme, already receiving over 2,500 comments.