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All-night queue of overseas students in Borough to be eliminated

The sight of newly-arrived international students queuing through the night outside Brandon House in Borough High Street should be a thing of the past after the Metropolitan Police announced a change to registration procedures.

Brandon House SE1
Foreign students queuing outside the Oversea Visitors Records Office last Tuesday

Foreign students from 42 countries enrolling at London universities must register with the Metropolitan Police's Oversea Visitors Records Office at Brandon House in Borough High Street within seven days of their arrival in the UK.

Although queues outside the office at the start of the academic year are nothing new, this year's delays have been so bar that students started arriving at Brandon House at midnight to be at the front of the line when the doors opened at 9am.

After the issue was highlighted by the BBC last week, the Home Office and the Metropolitan Police have announced that international students in London will no longer have to visit the Overseas Visitors Records Office to register with police.

Under temporary arrangements which take effect on Monday, students now have two options. They can visit the OVRO where they will be handed a pre-stamped form confirming that they have attended. This process will be quick and should not result in queues. Students will then have until 31 December to return the completed form to the office.

Alternatively, universities will be able to coordinate the process for their students and send all the paperwork to the police in one batch.

"This decision means that international students will not face the prospect of queuing again through the night to register with the police," said Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of Universities UK.

"The whole process can now been coordinated by the university. These students, who are often young people far from home, have been attempting to comply with rules requiring them to register within seven days of arriving in the UK.

"Universities UK made it clear to ministers that this situation was entirely unacceptable. We want to welcome international students here and help them settle in. The welfare of students is our first priority and suitable processes must now be put in place so this situation does not occur again."

Last week Southwark Council leader Peter John described the queues as "a disgrace in Cameron's Britain" and said that he will be writing to home secretary Theresa May to "demand proper resources" for student registration.

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