May 18 2013 Latest news:
Robin de Peyer
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Staff and students from London Metropolitan University held a protest in Westminster today over the UK Border Agency’s (UKBA) decision to remove its licence to teach international students.
The decision has left more than 2,000 students facing the prospect of being deported, and many of the students likely to be affected protested outside the Home Office this afternoon.
The protest, which passed peacefully with no arrests, followed confirmation by the university that it will pursue legal action against the decision.
The UKBA maintains that its conclusion was the result of “serious and systematic failings” in the process by which the university determined whether students have the right to remain in the UK.
The university’s vice chancellor, Professor Malcolm Gillies, said on Tuesday: “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.”
The government revoked London Met’s status for sponsoring international students last week, after an investigation by the 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 this week the university said it had read UKBA’s report and “in the strongest possible terms challenges the outcome”.
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, and that 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.”