Is the London Met visa row linked to immigration targets?

London Metropolitan University students protest outside Downing Street Photo: Max Nash/PA Wire

Should a university have been stripped of its licence to admit non-EU students? The Home Office is adamant it was the right decision - that London Metropolitan had enough chances to put things right, but failed.

Critics though say it was a step too far. It is OK to target bogus colleges, they say, but not universities. It is after all a multi-billion pound industry and could put foreign students off from studying in the UK.

The timing though is interesting. On the very day 2,000 foreign students are left wondering if they have a future here in the UK, the latest immigration figures have been published. They show a small fall in net migration - down by 36,000. But the overall figure is still more than double the Government's target.

File photo of London Metropolitan University's campus on Holloway Road, north London Credit: Johnny Green/PA Wire

According to the Office for National Statistics, the most common reason to come to the UK is to study.

But there has already been a significant drop in the number of student visas issued.

Many believe this is the only way the Government can possibly hit its migration target of allowing 'tens of thousands' into the UK rather than hundreds.

The Immigration Minister Damian Green may say this has nothing to do with London Metropolitan. After all what happens to 2,000 foreign students will hardly dent the Government's stats. But there is a growing concern other universities could be next.

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