May 21 2013 Latest news:
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
London Metropolitan University is taking legal action to challenge a decision to revoke the university’s Highly Trusted status for sponsoring international students.
The government revoked London Met’s status for sponsoring international students last week, after an investigation by the UK Border Agency (UKBA) found more than a quarter of a sample of students studying at the university did not even have permission to stay in the country.
Immigration minister Damian Green said a “significant proportion” did not have good English and there was no proof that half of those sampled were turning up to lectures.
In a statement last night the university said it had read UKBA’s report and “in the strongest possible terms challenges the outcome”.
Professor Malcolm Gillies, Vice-Chancellor of London Metropolitan University, 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.”
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.
In the statement London Met countered a number of the reasons given by the UKBA for revoking the status. It said there “is no evidence of systemic failings”, and that “the University has been conducting checks on its international students, specifically in relation to English language and educational ability, that not only meet UKBA’s published requirements, but exceed those requirements in a number of key areas”.
It also accused UKBA officers of ignoring “information that was made available to them when they conducted their audit”. The statement continued: “Despite our concerns, we cooperated and assisted them fully and tried to persuade them on a number of occasions to review evidence that we felt was relevant.”
The revocation, announced on August 29, affects up to 2,600 continuing international students who have until December 1 to find an alternative sponsor or face deportation.
The university said the revocation could result in as much as a £30million annual loss to the institution.
London Met accused the UKBA of changing its requirements too frequently, and said the revocation of its status was damaging the higher education sector as a whole.
The statement said: “London Met is concerned that the current immigration policy is creating confusion across universities in the country and irrevocable damage to the UK’s globally-recognised education sector.
“London Met appreciates that as the first UK university to be placed in this position it has a duty to the sector to try and bring an end to the damage arising from UKBA’s decision.
“London Met’s community will defend its reputation and along with the wider higher education community, the reputation of the sector at large.”