Home Office suspends a London university's licence to issue student visa

India News Bulletin Desk
London Metropolitan University - The Tower Building, North Campus, Holloway Road, North London
London Metropolitan University - The Tower Building, North Campus, Holloway Road, North London
Image: Wikimedia Commons (Justinc)

London Metropolitan University’s licence to issue visas for foreign students has been suspended by the immigration officers at the Home Office.

BREAKING NEWS: August 30, 2012

London Metropolitan University's HTS licence has been revoked, 2000 international students could face deportation in two months if they do not find a new sponsor.

FAQs guide for students affected by the Home Office's decision of revoking London Met's HTS licence.

The university’s licence to issue sponsor identified numbers (CASs) for new student visas is suspended while it works to clarify issues raised in two recent audits by the UK Border Agency (UKBA).

The UKBA audits relate to the institution’s handling of students from outside of the European Union. According to reports, the officers were concerned about some international students' absence and their English language skills. 

The university confirmed that the international students currently enrolled will not be affected during this period of review. Students already holding a student visa for entry into the UK are also not affected, it further clarified. 

UPDATE August 27, 2012:

But six weeks since the suspension report, London Met’s Highly Trusted Sponsor status is in limbo as a Sunday Times report revealed that its HTS status will be revoked but Immigration Minister Damien Green denied that a decision has been made -- READ MORE

The university has drafted its response to the UKBA on Friday, July 20, its vice chancellor, Professor Malcolm Gillies said.

London Met has “worked hard over the last year to rectify previous inadequacies” and has conducted three of its own audits, Gillies added.

“It will instantly rectify any residual deficits in its current practice," he said.

The institution is expecting to continue receiving applications from international students, including for entry in August and September 2012.

London Met and its partners have over 10,000 international students, around 10% of London's total number of foreign students.  It is one of the ten most popular universities in England for foreign students.

London Met is the second university to lose its licence to recruit foreign students since the Home Office tightened the rules last year. Earlier in February, Teesside University's licence was suspended after the immigration officers expressed concerns over its administrative processes. Its licence, however, was reinstated two months ago.

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.

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