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 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:
Immigration minister Damian Green defended the decision, saying that the university had shown "serious breaches" of its visa licence.
The chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee Keith Vaz said the UKBA has "badly handled" the process of revoking London Metropolitan University's visa licence:
However, the 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 and said that it would be assisting 'genuine students':
The executive officer at the London Metropolitan University Student Union has said that news of more than 2,000 foreign students being deported after the university's visa licence was revoked is "devastating".
Syed Rumman said that the decision could put the university at further financial risk.
Even "genuine students" are facing the prospect of having to find another course within 60 days or being deported.
ITV News' Alex Forrest talks to students potentially facing deportation:
The vice chancellor at London Metropolitan University has described claims that led to the institution losing its visa licence as "not particularly cogent" and said it would be disputing them.
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of Universities UK said there were other ways of addressing UKBA's concerns and the university's licence should have been revoked only as a last resort.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.
Later on in the day, students from the university gathered outside of Downing Street to express their distress and anger at the UKBA's decision.
The students taped their mouths, carried signs which read "International Students Not Welcome Here" and gave out leaflets which asked if the UK is open for all.