Image by: Edosbornphotography, Flickr Creative Commons
On the charges of failing to comply with the visa rules, UK border security has banned London Metropolitan University from enrolling foreign students with immediate effect causing anxiety and distress to those many legitimate international students studying at London Met.
Affected students who will now be required to find alternative courses or be forcibly removed from the UK told the reporters that they were being treated unfairly after being given permission to come to the UK to study and paying tens of thousands of pounds in fees and costs for the chance to do so.
According to an official statement issued by the UK Border Agency “London Metropolitan University students who are already in the UK with a current, valid UK visa do not need to do anything immediately. If an existing London Metropolitan University student with a current, valid visa is on holiday outside the UK, they can return to the UK.”
To protect the interest of the students, the government has also set up a taskforce which will work with London Metropolitan to support those affected and enable appropriately qualified genuine students to find another institution where they can continue their studies in the UK.
However, it remains to be seen how the authorities will identify genuine and bogus from among the pool of students who are under the direct line of fire from this decision.
Foreign students bring an estimated £12.5bn in to the UK economy every year.
Chris Bryant, shadow immigration minister said, “the announcement make many think again about whether to come to the UK to study and will cause lasting damage to the international reputation of the UK university system”.
Abhimanyu Chatwal who was scheduled to attend London Met starting September 2012 told BBC news that “UKBA’s decision is not a good sign - the UK changed their immigration rules considerably last year which lead to many of people deciding not to study in the UK”.“This decision sends a message to the international community that international students are not welcome”, he added.
Responding to UKBA decision to revoke highly trusted sponsor license enabling foreign student enrolment, the university said it was “disappointed" with the "unnecessary action" with Professor Gillies, the Vice-chancellor of London Met adding: "We believe it is out of proportion even in terms of the evidence presented to us."
The university, which recruits heavily from India, is the first British university to have its licence revoked under measures to curb student visa abuse.