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Students affected by the UK Border Agency’s (UKBA) decision to revoke London Metropolitan University’s licence to sponsor international students are being offered help from a government fund.

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Universities Minister David Willetts today announced plans for the £2million fund, which will help students to meet additional costs they may incur by moving to another institution to finish their studies. These include covering the cost of any fee for a repeat visa application and discretionary payments to cover lost deposits on accommodation due to having to move somewhere else to study.

Mr Willetts, who announced the fund at the annual Universities UK conference at Keele University, said: “It is important that genuine students who are affected through no fault of their own are given as much help as possible to continue their studies in the UK.

“This fund will help offset the extra costs students face in transferring to another institution and also help to put students’ minds at ease at what must be a very stressful and unsettling time.”

The government revoked London Met’s status for sponsoring international students after a UKBA investigation.

UKBA figures showed that of 101 sample cases, 26 students were studying at London Met between December last year and May despite the fact they held no leave to remain in the UK.

A lack of required monitoring meant there was no proof students were turning up to lectures in 142 of 250 (57 per cent) sampled records.

And 20 of 50 files checked since May for evidence of mandatory English language testing and academic qualifications showed poor assessment where documents were either not verified or not held.

London Met has previously said there “is no evidence of systemic failings”.

Earlier this month the university’s vice-chancellor Professor Malcolm Gillies said: “London Met will fight this revocation, which is based on a highly flawed report by the UKBA.

“The University will continue to give top priority to the interests of our international students who have been so distressed by this precipitate action.”

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