More than 2,000 students are facing potential deportation from the UK after the Government stripped a university of its rights to admit foreigners.
The London Metropolitan University has had its Highly Trusted Status (HTS) for sponsoring international students revoked. The university issued a statement on their website following the UK Border Agency's decision:
The implications of the revocation are hugely significant and far-reaching, and the university has already started to deal with these.
It will be working very closely with the UKBA, Higher Education Funding Council for England, the NUS and its own Students' Union.
Our absolute priority is to our students, both current and prospective, and the University will meet all its obligations to them.
The move could mean more than 2,000 students being deported within 60 days unless they find another sponsor, according to the National Union of Students.
Following the decision, the NUS contacted the Prime Minister and Home Secretary Theresa May yesterday regarding the situation of foreign students. NUS president Liam Burns said today:
It is disgusting that international students continue to be used as a political football by politicians who seem either incapable of understanding, or are simply uncaring about the impact of their decisions on individuals, universities and the UK economy.
This decision will create panic and potential heartbreak for students not just at London Met but also all around the country.
Immigration minister Damian Green defended the decision, saying that the university had shown "serious breaches" of its visa licence.
UKBA said that "systemic failings" had been identified six months ago, and that there were continuing problems with the university. The UKBA defended universities as a whole:
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.
We are doing everything possible, working with Universities UK, to assist genuine students that have been affected.
Professor Eric Thomas, president of Universities UK said there were other ways of addressing UKBA's concerns and the university's licence should have been revoked only as a last resort.
He added that the move would cause "anxiety and distress to legitimate international students" at the university.