Aug 30 2012
More than 2,000 students could face ejection from the country after the Government stripped a university of its right to admit foreigners.
London Metropolitan University has had its Highly Trusted Status (HTS) for sponsoring international students revoked and will no longer be allowed to authorise visas, according to the institution's website.
The move could mean more than 2,000 students being deported within 60 days unless they find another sponsor, according to the National Union of Students.
The university's HTS status was suspended last month while the UK Border Agency (UKBA) examined alleged failings.
A statement posted on the university's website tonight read: "The implications of the revocation are hugely significant and far-reaching, and the university has already started to deal with these. It will be working very closely with the UKBA, Higher Education Funding Council for England, the NUS and its own Students' Union. Our ABSOLUTE PRIORITY is to our students, both current and prospective, and the University will meet all its obligations to them."
The NUS has contacted Prime Minister David Cameron and Home Secretary Theresa May to "express anger at the way that decisions have been made in recent weeks and to reiterate the potentially catastrophic effects on higher education as a £12.5 billion per year export industry for the UK".
NUS president Liam Burns said: "It is disgusting that international students continue to be used as a political football by politicians who seem either incapable of understanding, or are simply uncaring about the impact of their decisions on individuals, universities and the UK economy. This decision will create panic and potential heartbreak for students not just at London Met but also all around the country. Politicians need to realise that a continued attitude of suspicion towards international students could endanger the continuation of higher education as a successful export industry.
"This heavy-handed decision makes no sense for students, no sense for institutions and no sense for the country. This situation and the botched process by which the decision was arrived at could be avoided if international students were not included in statistics of permanent migrants."
Universities Minister David Willetts tonight announced the formation of a task force to help overseas students affected by the decision. He said: "It is important that genuine students who are affected through no fault of their own are offered prompt advice and help, including, if necessary, with finding other institutions at which to finish their studies.
"We are tonight asking HEFCE and Universities UK to lead a task force, which will include UKBA and the NUS, to work with London Metropolitan University to support affected students and enable them to continue their studies in the UK. The task force will start work immediately."