A London university that was striped of its right to admit international students has had its licence returned and will be able to teach foreign pupils again.
London Metropolitan University lost its highly-trusted status (HTS) for sponsoring students from outside the EU in August after failing to address failings flagged up by the former UK Border Agency.
Less than a month before the beginning of the September term, over 2,000 students faced deportation.
However, a High Court judge told the students they could temporarily continue to study at the university.
Today the Home Office announced that it is satisfied London Metropolitan University now meets the requirements needed to sponsor foreign students.
Immigration Minister Mark Harper said:
“It is in theinterest of international students that all institutions take their immigrationresponsibilities seriously and demonstrate that they comply with the rules.This is exactly why the sponsorship system was set up.
“We will continue to welcome the brightest and best students to our world-class universities.”
The university will now besubject to 12 months probation. During this periodthere will be a limit on the number of international students theuniversity can enrol.
A group of London Metropolitan University students gathered outside Downing Street to express their distress and anger at the UK Border Agency's decision to strip it of its right to admit foreigners.
Dozens of students and supporters sat in silence in front of the gates to the Prime Minister's residence before police moved them to the other side of the street.
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.
The signs and leaflets expressed the students' disappointment with a design showing broken Olympic rings.
The Government should have considered other options before stripping a university of its right to admit foreigners, critics have said.
More than 2,000 students could face ejection from the country after the Government revoked London Metropolitan University's highly-trusted status for sponsoring international students.
The move, which critics said sent a damaging message that the UK deports foreign students to all corners of the globe, comes after more than a quarter of students sampled studying at the university did not even have permission to stay in the country.
Professor Eric Thomas, president of Universities UK, said there were other ways to address UK Border Agency concerns and the university's licence should only have been revoked as a last resort.
"The UKBA's decision to revoke London Metropolitan University's licence will cause anxiety and distress to those many legitimate international students currently studying at London Metropolitan, and their families," he said.
Sally Hunt, general secretary of the University and College Union, said: "The UK remains one of the most popular destinations for foreign students because of our proud international reputation for excellence and we need that to continue.
No matter how this is dressed up, the damaging message that the UK deports foreign students studying at UK universities will reach all corners of the globe.
"Foreign students bring in billions of pounds every year, but the benefits are not merely financial.
"UK students profit enormously from exchange programmes with foreign universities and also through mixing with, and working alongside, students studying here."
Immigration minister Damian Green said London Metropolitan University was "very, very deficient" sponsor because more than a quarter of students sampled were studying there when they did not have permission to stay in the country.
A "significant proportion" of students did not have a good standard of English and there was no proof that half of those sampled were turning up to lectures, he added.
"Any one of those breaches would be serious. We found all three of those breaches at London Metropolitan.
"I'm not chucking anyone out, we have actually set up a task force to make sure genuine students can stay in the country" he said.
The UK Council for International Student Affairs has explained how students are affected by university visa licencing issues, after the UK Border Agency revoked LondonMetropolitan University's licence.
Here is some usefulinformation, if you are a student facing visa problems:
- If you have already paid a deposit to the institution which has had its sponsor licence withdrawn you will need to contact them directly to request any refund you are entitled to. You should not attempt to enter the UK on this visa.
- If your institution has closed the UKBA will write to you and shorten your leave. Make sure the UKBA always has your current address.
- Your permission to stay will be shortened to 60 days from the date on the letter from the UKBA. You must leave the UK or find an alternative institution within that time.
More than 2000 students at London Metropolitan University could face ejection from the country after the Government stripped it of its right to admit foreigners.
The university has had its Highly Trusted Status for sponsoring international students revoked and will no longer be allowed to authorise visas, according to the institution's website.
The move could mean more than 2000 students being deported within 60 days unless they find another sponsor, according to the National Union of Students.
Universities Minister David Willetts announced the formation of a task force last night to help overseas students affected by the decision.
He said: "It is important that genuine students who are affected through no fault of their own are offered prompt advice and help, including, if necessary, with finding other institutions at which to finish their studies.
"We are asking Higher Education Funding Council for England and Universities UK to lead a task force, which will include UK Border Agency and the NUS,
to work with London Metropolitan University to support affected students and enable them to continue their studies in the UK. The task force will start work immediately."