As the UK Border Agency turns it attention to the government controlled educational providers, The Guardian reports that Tier 4 sponsor licences were suspended after visas problems, though not as serious as those at London Met, say Ministers.
Two more UK universities had their licenses to sponsor and teach overseas students temporarily suspended after the UK Border Agency discovered problems with the enforcement of visa rules, Ministers have said.
London Metropolitan University was stripped of its highly trusted sponsor status last week after checks by UKBA found breaches of Tier 4 student visa rules. Audits found that of a sample of 101 overseas students at London Met, a quarter had no leave to remain in the UK.
UKBA carried out a further sample check of 600 overseas students at London Met, which found problems in 60% of cases, MPs were told.
Speaking in the Commons in response to an urgent question about London Met, the Immigration Minister Damian Green said that both of the other institutions had resolved their problems and were no longer suspended.
The Minister said London Met’s case was more serious. He said: “UKBA found systemic failures which meant that London Met had not been able to ensure the appropriate admission and tracking of students from abroad.”
Allowing London Met to continue awarding visas would have undermined the visa regime, Green added.
“Institutions must comply with the rules, whether they sponsor 10, 100 or 1,000 international students. This includes having a system to check that students have the right visas to study in the UK and monitoring the attendance of students,” the Minister told MPs.
“Education providers have to meet strict standards ensuring they provide high quality education and take their immigration responsibilities seriously.”
Officials will start writing to affected students on 1 October, giving them 60 days to leave the UK or find another university to complete their studies. The decision leaves 2,700 foreign students at London Met facing deportation.
The government accused the university of “failing to address serious and systemic failings” identified six months ago.
Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn, who tabled the Commons question, said the London Met decision would deter foreign students from studying in the UK.
“The image around the world is one that is really quite appalling because it suggests that overseas students may well be deported from this country because of a decision made by UKBA for which there is no detail given as to the basis of that decision.
“Every university in this country has cause to be concerned by this decision from UKBA.”
Shadow immigration Minister Chris Bryant said Labour supported the crackdown on bogus courses but warned the government needed to support legitimate students.
He said: “We need to foster an international reputation for high value education, not undermine it.
“The government has acted at the most disruptive time of year in the most disruptive way – yet more Ministerial incompetence. Legitimate international students bring in £3.3bn in to this country’s economy.”
The former Labour government introduced the Points Based System and the Tier 4 sponsors licensing rules for colleges and students.
The Liberal Democrats also criticised the move. Mike Crockart, MP for Edinburgh West, accused UKBA of “heavy-handed, rhetoric-induced action”.
But Green said the decision to act against London Met was the “opposite of rhetoric”. He said: “Instead of years of immigration Ministers from the previous government talking tough and acting weak, we now have a government that is acting tough as well.” Source: The Guardian.
The news that universities are now being checked, after their licences were gifted to them, will be worrying for the sector.
Universities are used to doing things their way and will not enjoy the interference of UKBA officers crawling all over their files.
Private college owners could be forgiven for saying: “Welcome to the club!”
Unlike private colleges, universities were handed their Tier 4 licences and Highly Trusted Status on a plate, without the need to apply or go through any inspection.
London Met has announced that it will be taking legal action to prevent the revocation of its Tier 4 licence, which should give students a ‘stay of execution’ from deportation whilst the appeal grinds its way through the courts.
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:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.