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London Metropolitan University students demonstrate outside 10 Downing Street | Immigration Matters

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London Met Students Protest at 10 Downing Street

London Met students have staged demonstrations today outside the Prime Minister’s residence and at the campus in protest against the UK Border Agency’s revocation of the University’s Tier 4 Sponsors licence

As many as 4,000 students potentially face deportation after a university had its licence to teach and recruit students from outside the EU revoked.

The UK Border Agency (UKBA) says student attendance at London Metropolitan University is not being monitored and that many have no right to be here.

As a result, the university will no longer be allowed to authorise student visas.

The university said it would be challenging UKBA’s claims. 

A task force has been set up to help students affected by the decision which means some 2,000 overseas non-EU students will have to find an alternative institution to sponsor them or they will be told that they will be removed from the UK.

The government says it wants to assess how many students will be successfully reallocated to alternative institutions before the UKBA sends out notices giving them 60 days to leave. At this stage, the Home Office is unable to say when those notices will be issued.

The UKBA says London Metropolitan University had “failed to address serious and systemic failings” identified six months ago.

Immigration Minister Damian Green said London Metropolitan University had failed in three particular areas:

  • More than a quarter of the 101 students sampled were studying at the university when they had no leave to remain in this country
  • Some 20 of 50 checked files found “no proper evidence” that the students’ mandatory English levels had been reached
  • And some 142 of 250 (57%) sampled records had attendance monitoring issues, which meant it was impossible for the university to know whether students were turning up for classes or not.

Professor Malcolm Gillies, the university’s vice chancellor, described the claims made against the institution as “not particularly cogent” and said it would be disputing them.

“I would go so far as to say that UKBA has been rewriting its own guidelines on this issue and this is something which should cause concern to all universities in the UK,” he said.

He needs to get his finger out if he wants to ‘dispute’ the revocation as only High Court action will save the University and its students.

Although there have been other suspensions, no other UK university has been fully stripped of its ability to recruit overseas students.

The National Union of Students (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 £12.5bn per year export industry for the UK”.

NUS president Liam Burns added that the decision could have been limited to future students rather than covering existing ones.

Meanwhile, a group of London Metropolitan University students have held a protest outside Downing Street.

Dozens of students and supporters sat in silence in front of the gates to Number 10, with tape over their mouths, before police moved them across the street.

The UKBA said allowing London Metropolitan University to continue to sponsor and teach international students “was not an option”.

It said it had been working with the university since it identified failings six months ago.

It added: “These are problems with one university, not the whole sector. British universities are among the best in the world – and Britain remains a top-class destination for top-class international students.”

Universities Minister David Willetts has announced a task force to help overseas students affected by the decision, which will include UKBA and the NUS.

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.”

But Universities UK President Professor Eric Thomas said there were alternative ways of addressing UKBA’s concerns and that the “revocation of a university’s licence should only be a decision of last resort”.

The University and College Union has warned that the move would have an impact on future recruitment of foreign students. Source: BBC.

Despiten the fact that the UKBA claim that allowing London Metropolitan University to continue to sponsor and teach international students “was not an option”, there are always options and ways of dealing with administrative issues.

The UKBA could have worked with the university whilst maintaining the suspended status, instead of moving to the point of no return – revocation of the licence and cancellation of thousands of student’s visas.

Whilst under suspension, the institution would have been prevented from recruiting new international students, but their existing students would have been safe.

Once revoked, there is no way back for the thousands of students who now face paying huge bills to apply for new visas and enrol with alternative providers.

Commenting on Immigration Matters this week, Syed Rumman, VP Education at London Metropolitan University, called on the Government to ‘immediately reinstate London Metropolitan’s HTS status, and stop jeopardizing the futures of thousands of international students who have chosen to study in the UK and are now instead faced with the prospect of deportation.’

He added:

‘This decision will violate our right to education and human rights as students will be forced to choose an Institution against their will.’

See also:

London Metropolitan University’s licence to sponsor international students revoked

UKBA launch service for universities sponsoring foreign students

London Metropolitan University’s Tier 4 Sponsors licence to be revoked by UKBA

New Government funded courses available for Bulgarian and Romanian EU students

Parliament take emergency action to save immigration system after court says it has been operating illegally since 2008

Private Tier 4 sponsoring colleges sacrificed in immigration cull

Glasgow Caledonian University gets Tier 4 sponsorship licence back within weeks of suspension

Overseas students trapped in UK visa delays

New visa rules for overseas students ‘will cost billions’ say Universities UK

UKBA confirm changes to the Immigration Rules which start on 6 April 2012

Overseas students should be excluded from UK net migration figures, say MPs

650 Tasmac students stranded as University of Wales accredited college closes

UK Universities claimed £86m for students who had dropped out

If you need any immigration advice or are worried about the new immigration rules or need help with Sponsorship or Tier 2, Tier 4, applying for university if your college has closed down, Visa, ILR, Settlement, Citizenship, Dependant Visa or an appeal against a UK Border Agency or British Embassy refusal, or if you have been waiting for a reply from the Home Office for longer than a year, please email: 

info@immigrationmatters.co.uk or visit www.immigrationmatters.co.uk for free immigration news updates.

Majestic College offer special packages for EU students. They also have a number of employers looking for staff right now and are willing to employ Bulgarians and Romanians.

For more information call Joanna on 0208 207 1020 or email   info@majesticcollege.org

Overseas students and workers can qualify for a tax refund 

You could qualify for a tax refund if you are an overseas student, work permit holder, Tier 1, Yellow or Blue Card holder – in fact any visa type – even if you are no longer legal or even in the UK!

UK NARIC ASSESSMENT

It doesn’t matter where you come from – UK, Europe or anywhere else in the world, it is important to ensure that your qualifications are recognised. In the UK there is a national agency that carries out this service, they are called UK NARIC.

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