Why has London Metropolitan University been banned from accepting foreign students from outside of the European Union?
The UK Border Agency’s decision to revoke its licence comes down to a judgement in government that the institution could not be trusted to help stop illegal immigration.
The UK’s modern immigration system has been designed to force universities to do more to make sure that only the right students get in – and that those who should leave do so at the end of their courses.
London Met had a special status as a “Highly Trusted Sponsor” (HTS).
The HTS system was introduced so that universities who benefit directly from migration do what they can to help prevent the education system being used by people who want to work illegally, rather than study.
The system means that a university or college has to take reasonable steps to ensure that an applicant is a genuine student. Once the university is satisfied with its own assessment, which includes language skills, it provides a certificate that sponsors the individual as they apply for a visa to come to the UK.
If the UKBA does not grant visas to at least eight out of 10 prospective students, it can revoke an institution’s HTS status on the grounds that it hasn’t been properly checking applicants.
A university can also lose its status if more than 10% of sponsored students don’t actually enrol or if there is a significant drop-out rate from the course – both potential signs of students disappearing to work illegally.
Finally, universities must show that enrolled students are making academic progression – turning up and handing in their essays.
Sounds complicated? The full rules on the UKBA website run to 72 pages.