A STIRLING University student who was detained by the Home Office for months has said he is being blocked from graduating despite pleas for clemency.

Muhammad Rauf Waris says he has been stripped of his right to work in the UK after 70 days’ detention at the Dungavel Immigration Removal Centre in South Lanarkshire last year.

It has left him unable to pay his outstanding tuition fees which he must pay if he wants to graduate, according to the Pakistani national.

Supporters have protested at Stirling University demanding bosses forgive his debt.

They have accused university management of hypocrisy after principal and vice-chancellor Gerry McCormac was awarded a £68,000 pay rise last year, taking his salary to £295,000.

Waris told the Sunday National he owed Stirling University £12,044.

He said: “The University of Stirling prides itself as a place of community. I am part of this community. Withdrawing me while I am so close to graduating would make me very depressed.

“I have endured through so many barriers. However, it has been thanks to my friends and supporters in Stirling and the Glasgow area who have helped me persevere during all these difficulties.

READ MORE: Stirling Uni student accuses Home Office of 'mental torture' in Dungavel

“All I ask is for the University of Stirling not to withdraw me and to please provide a tuition fee amnesty.”

He was detained by the Home Office for more than two months last year after being accused of working over the legally permitted amount of hours on a student visa.

The business studies student, who lives in Airdrie, said he had been subjected to “mental torture” by the Government during his time in detention.

While in Dungavel, he described suffering from anxiety and stress and said he was taking painkillers and struggling to eat.

The National: Muhammad Rauf Waris is a student at the University of Stirling, but the Home Office have detained him

A petition organised by the campaign group Unis Resist Border Controls (URBC) calling for Waris (above) to be given better pastoral care from the university and a tuition fee amnesty was signed by 341 academics, students and members of the public.

Waris turned down an offer of £550 per academic term – which lasts around three months – from Stirling in protest because the university would not respond to the petition, according to campaigners.

A crowdfunder has been set up to cover his living costs, with URBC said provides him with around £400 to £500 a month.

URBC has raised concerns that withdrawing him from his course puts Waris at risk of being unable to stay in Scotland and instead having to move back to Pakistan.

A spokesperson for the organisation said: “Stirling University is weaponising Muhammad’s precarious immigration status against him because the hostile environment policy allows them to do this.

“If he is forced to return back to Pakistan, Stirling University must know that given Muhammad’s ongoing case with the Home Office, it is very unlikely that he would be granted another student visa if he is either withdrawn or takes a pause of study. 

READ MORE: Stirling University 'mistreating' student detained by Home Office, say campaigners

“We strongly feel that if Stirling University can give a pay rise of £68,000 to its principal, Sir Gerry McCormac, surely then they can cancel the remaining tuition fees owed and allow Muhammad to graduate with dignity.”

A Stirling University spokesperson said: “We have been, and continue to be in, regular contact with Muhammad to offer support.

“To enable us to provide further support, we would encourage Muhammad to engage with our student support team.”

The Home Office does not comment on individual cases but a spokesperson for the department said: “Illegal working causes untold harm to our communities, cheating honest workers out of employment, putting vulnerable people at risk, and defrauding the public purse.”