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The backlash over the UK Border Agency’s (UKBA) decision to deport thousands of students studying at London Metropolitan University continued today as a protest was held at Tower Hamlets College to show solidarity.

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Staff and students united at the college in Poplar to encourage the UKBA to extend an amnesty to 2,600 students from outside the EU who have commenced their studies at the university but are now facing the prospect of being deported.

Many such students attend the university’s East London campuses, and Tower Hamlets College retains close ties with the institution.

Richard Mcewan, a maths teacher and University and College Union (UCU) representative, said: “The key point today was to support the calls for an amnesty, and let people continue studying at London Met and not threaten them with deportation.

“If the government is going to give them an amnesty to study elsewhere, they might as well let them stay at London Met. It’s clearly playing political football with international students

The controversy follows the UKBA’s decision to revoke London Met’s licence to teach students from outside the EU, which was announced in August.

The university has already confirmed it plans to take legal action to challenge the decision, and an application to provide students with “interim relief” is to be heard on September 21.

As it stands, students affected by the UKBA’s decision will receive a letter from October 1, from which point they will be given 60 days to make an application to continue their studies at an alternative institution or leave the UK.

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