Thousands of foreign students, especially non-European Union studying in the UK and the prospective students are gripped by anxiety, concerns and confusion about visa regulations in the UK after the Home Office revoked London Metropolitan University’s license to authorise visas for international students.
Here is a quick guide for non-EU students, Indian students and international students who are looking for some clarity over the issue. The FAQ guide will help existing students affected by London Met’s HTS (Highly Trusted Sponsor) visa license status and other prospective foreign students.
This guide is based on the clarifications and advice offered by the UK Border Agency, the National Union of Students (NUS) and the University itself:
- The UKBA has withdrawn London Metropolitan University's licence to sponsor students from outside the EEA under Tier 4 of the points-based system. This means it is no longer on the register of licensed sponsors, and it can no longer sponsor students from outside the EEA with a Tier 4 visa.
- About 400 post-graduate students at London Met who have already submitted their dissertations or are about to submit them will be assessed by the university and therefore will not need to transfer.
- This decision does not affect the UK and EU students studying at London Metropolitan University.
- If you are a student at London Metropolitan University and you are already in the UK with a current, valid Tier 4 visa. You do not need to do anything immediately. Affected students will have 60 days from when they receive your Letter of Curtailment, not from the revocation date (August 30, 2012), so there is still time for the non-European Union students to think through their options.
- New international students who were planning to travel to the UK to start studying with London Metropolitan University should not travel.
- If you are an existing student of London Metropolitan University and you have applied to the Home Office to extend your current visa. Your confirmation of acceptance for studies that was issued by London Metropolitan University is no longer valid and you cannot use it to apply for an extension of your stay in the UK.
- Students should not make any decisions about what they should do until they have spoken to an immigration adviser.
- A taskforce will be set up to help the international, Non-European Union students affected by the Home Office’s decision.
- Genuine international students need not fear. The task force will try to help students who meet the requirements to study in the UK under Tier 4 of the points-based system to find another licensed education provider to sponsor them before their 60 days expire.
- Students that meet the requirements but cannot find a sponsor may be able to apply to switch into a different immigration category, for example one of the categories for working in the UK.
- London Metropolitan University has set up a student help-line to support and advise anxious international students – both European and non-European. The number is +44 (0) 20 7133 4141. Students who are not clear about their status can contact the officials via this help-line and get guidance.
- Affected students can also call the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) helpline: +44 (0) 20 7107 9922 or visit the UKCISA advice page at www.ukcisa.org.uk
- Genuine students from India should explore opportunities at other UK universities as the Guardian reports that London Metropolitan University’s recruitment offices in Delhi and Chennai have closed operations on Thursday, August 30, 2012.
- The university has started to deal with the implications of the revocation and it will meet all its obligations to foreign and non-European Union students – both existing and prospective students.
- A wide range of students union and organistaions such as the NUS, London Metropolitan University’s own Students’ Union, HEFCE (the Higher Education Funding Council for England) and the UKBA will be working closely to resolve the issue.
- The NUS has said it is doing everything in its power to ensure that international students from London Met are supported.
The decision to revoke London Metropolitan University’s HTS licence comes after a UKBA audit revealed issues with 61% of files randomly sampled. Previously, the UKBA had suspended the university's foreign students visa licence.
“Allowing London Met to continue to sponsor and teach international students was not an option,” said Immigration Minister Damian Green.
However, the Home Office insisted that these are problems with one university, not the whole sector and tha Britain continues to remain open to prospective foreign students including those from non-European Union regions.
Meanwhile, more information is available on the UKBA website for international students coming to the UK:
UPDATE: September 21, 2012:
To protect the interest of students, a High Court judge has indicated that:
1. Students at present in the UK and studying at London Met, as well as those planning to start their studies this autumn who have current full proper immigration status, so that they may stay and continue to pursue their studies with London Met, if they wish; and
2. Students presently in the UK studying at London Met or those planning to study at London Met but who still wish to transfer to another institution to pursue their studies, can do so, providing they have full proper immigration status.
Are you a student who is affected by the Home Office's decision to revoke London Metropolitan University's HTS visa licence? Let us know by writing to us at .