The London Metropolitan University has recently lost its license to sponsor foreign students from outside the EU. This will not only prevent the university from accepting new foreign students, but could also affect non-EU undergraduates who are currently enrolled. More than 2,000 students could face the possibility of deportation. This is the first time a UK university has fully lost its right to host foreign students.
The university lost its license due to a failure to meet standards. According to the UK Border Agency (UKBA), the university has not been monitoring their student attendance properly. UKBA has stated, “Any education provider has to meet strict standards, ensuring they provide high quality education, and take their immigration responsibilities seriously. We will not tolerate any abuse of the immigration system.”
The university plans to challenge this claim.
The government announced that they will look deeper into the situation, allowing more time before the UKBA passes out notices to foreign students, ordering them to depart within 60 days.
Since they are uncertain as to whether they will be kicked out, many foreign students in a state of disarray. The student union has set up a help-line for panicking students. Hundreds of phone calls from worried students have already been received. Should the university lose its license, students would either need to find an alternative institution or accept deportation.
Ashiqur Rahman of Bangladesh has held an interview with BBC News on this matter. As a third year student at the university, he has already spent over £25,000 on tuition fees. Now faced with an unknown future, Rahman has had to seek alternate routes of continuing his studies. However, he must face still further concerns.
“I checked with a few other universities about a possibility to transfer there, but they told me that I can do it in my second but not in my third year,” he said. “That means that I have to spend extra money and unnecessarily prolong my studies.”
The university’s Vice Chancellor, Malcolm Gillies, has expressed worry over the impact it has on the students along with how it will affect recruiting of foreign students in the future. The University and College Union agree, warning UKBA of the possible impact this issue may have. The UKBA might be penalizing just one university, but the license revocation could impact the reputation of almost all universities in the UK.
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