30 August 2012 #Immigration
London Metropolitan University has had its sponsorship licence revoked by the UK Border Agency, meaning it is now unable to sponsor and teach new and existing international students from outside the EU. The UKBA has apparently said it had "failed to address serious and systemic failings” and the latest audit revealed problems with 61% of files.
The UKBA suspended the University’s Highly Trusted Sponsor status on 16th July 2012 over concerns that some of its international students did not have accurate documentation to remain in the UK. Although the UKBA has suspended other institutions’ licences, this is the first UK University to have theirs actually revoked.
According to the National Union of Students, more than 2,000 students could face administrative removal and being unable to complete their degrees within 60 days, unless they find another sponsor. The University has said in a statement on its website that "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.”
There are growing concerns over the impact this decision could have on the UK’s reputation for higher education, which is a £12.5bn per year export industry for the UK. On its website, the NUS has said that “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. "
The University has set up a help centre to support and advise students who may be affected, details of which can be found on its website.