London Metropolitan University in court over visa block


London Metropolitan University is to urge judges to suspend a ban on it recruiting overseas students.

Last month the UK Border Agency took away the university’s right to sponsor students for UK visas.

It said the university was not making proper checks on students; the university denies this.

Lawyers for the university will appear at the High Court asking for the ban to be lifted while they seek a legal ruling known as a judicial review.

About 2,600 people registered as international students at the university have to find alternative degree courses by the start of December – and face being deported if they do not.

The university says the decision could cost it up to £30m a year.

Last week the government pledged £2m to help the students.

The UK Border Agency (UKBA) took away the university’s “highly trusted status” – meaning it can no longer recruit students from outside the European Union – in a crackdown on alleged abuse of the student visa system.

Overseas students staying more than a year count in the migration figures and the government has pledged to cut net migration to “tens of thousands”.

‘Huge implications’
The agency said the university had failed to address “serious failings” in its system which had been identified more than six months ago.

In a sample of 101 students, it said, more than a quarter had no permission to be in the UK, while separate checks showed there was no proper evidence that some students spoke good enough English to be given a student visa.

Criticism was also made of the university’s attendance checks.

The London Met vice-chancellor Professor Malcolm Gillies has rejected the claims, saying there was no evidence of systemic failings and that the decision to take away the university’s “highly trusted status” was based on “a highly flawed report by the UKBA”.

The National Union of Students has asked to give evidence at the High Court, saying the case has huge implications for international students in the UK and others thinking about coming to Britain to study.

The UK Border Agency has insisted the decision to revoke the sponsor licence was correct .


BBC © 2012


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