Following what the UK Border Agency described as ‘problems’ with 61% of the students information files that the UKBA sampled, the university has had its Highly Trusted Sponsor (HTS) status revoked.
A spokesman for the UKBA said “London Metropolitan University’s licence to sponsor non-EU students has been revoked after it failed to address serious and systemic failings that were identified by the UK Border Agency six months ago.”
“We have been working with them since then, but the latest audit revealed problems with 61% of files randomly sampled.”
“Allowing London Metropolitan University to continue to sponsor and teach international students was not an option.”
Immigration Minister Damian Green showed no mercy, telling Radio 4’s Today programme that London Metropolitan University “has shown it is very very seriously deficient as a sponsor.”
The decision could also affect overseas students and those making new applications to become students at the university. However, many students had already prepared for the eventuality by making enquiries into moving to alternative educational institutions.
The decision was anticipated by the university, which has set up a task force to team to deal with the situation. A statement on their website reads “The implications of the revocation are hugely significant and far-reaching, and the university has already started to deal with these.”
President of the NUS, Liam Burns, said “This decision will create panic and potential heartbreak for students not just at London Met but also all around the country. This heavy-handed decision makes no sense for students, no sense for institutions and no sense for the country.”
“This situation and the botched process by which the decision was arrived at could be avoided if international students were not included in statistics of permanent migrants.”
According to the BBC, the NUS has contacted Prime Minister David Cameron and Home Secretary Teresa May to express concern that the decision could affect “higher education as a £12.5bn per year export industry for the UK.”
The UK Border Agency said “These are problems with one university, not the whole sector. British universities are among the best in the world – and Britain remains a top class destination for top class international students.”
Main image: The Dalai Lama receives an honorary degree from London Metropolitan University in 2008 (Getty)