The UK Border Agency (UKBA) has taken the unusual step of publishing special advice for students affected by the closure of a Tier 4 sponsor, in this case the London Metropolitan University, which lost its licence to sponsor international students this week.
The agency has published a page of guidance for international students who are studying at London Metropolitan University or who are planning to study there.
Many thousands of students have been left ‘high and dry’ by the closure of private colleges due to suspensions or revocation of licences, yet the media, unions, migrant welfare organisations and Government Ministers hardly said a word.
No ‘task forces’ were set up to help students transfer to other colleges and no leeway was given to students, like the victims of TASMAC College, who had lost all their money and could no longer qualify for a new student visa.
However, when a university goes down it’s a different story. There is a public ‘outcry’, with people asking ‘how could this happen?’. Even the UKBA appears to bending over backwards to help students.
The UKBA confirmed this week that visa cancellation letters will not be sent to students until October in order to give students time to transfer.
In the announcement below, the UKBA assures the ‘genuine’ students that they ‘do not have to do anything immediately’.
‘You do not need to do anything immediately. We will write to you after 1 October. We will ensure that you have 60 days to make a new student application or to arrange to leave the UK. This 60 days will start from the date we write to you.
‘If you are a genuine student who meets the requirements to study in the UK under Tier 4 of the points-based system, the task force will try to help you to find another licensed education provider to sponsor you before your 60 days expire.’
The announcement does not directly refer to the new student visa Rules, which require most students to apply for a new visa when changing educational providers but does refer to changes in the Tier 4 requirements.
‘If you are successful, you will then be able to continue your studies in the UK with this new education provider.
‘The Tier 4 requirements may have changed since your original application, so you should read them carefully. For example, English language requirements changed in 2011.
‘If you cannot find another sponsor we will expect you to leave the UK at the end of your 60 days.’
Advice is also offered for students holding a CAS, which is no longer valid, either in the UK or waiting to travel from overseas.
‘If you already have a visa to come to the UK to study at London Metropolitan University, you should cancel your travel plans. London Metropolitan University should already have told you this. Please contact London Metropolitan University if you have not received any information on what to do next.’
Students holding a CAS, but have not yet applied for a student visa should not apply using a London Met CAS, as the application will be refused.
If you brought members of your family to the UK with you
Students who have sponsored dependents on their student visas must read the Rules carefully, as their families may no longer be allowed to remain in the UK.
‘If your family members are here with permission to stay in the UK in their own right under an immigration category, they are not affected. If they are here as your dependants, their permission to stay will end when your visa is cancelled. They will be able to stay in the UK with you if you are able to transfer to another higher education institution and you meet requirements to have dependants with you in the UK.’
In other words, you can only sponsor a dependant if you are studying at a Government University (not private college) and taking a course at Masters level 7. Students halfway through a Level 6 degree course may not be able to keep dependants with them in the UK.
EU students, including those from Bulgaria and Romania, are not affected by the Tier 4 revocation.
‘We hope this will help students who are affected by the withdrawal of London Metropolitan University’s licence to sponsor students from outside the EU under Tier 4 of the points-based system.’ Source: UK Border Agency.
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.