London Metropolitan university, the first university to have its non-EU sponsor licence revoked, has regained its foreign student licence enabling them once again to recruit and teach foreign students.
In august last year London Met’s foreign student licence was revoked after an audit of the university by UK Border Agency (“UKBA”) found that the university had failed to address what was described the Immigration Minister Damian Green as “systematic failings”.
The audit highlighted a number of areas where the University has failed:
– More than a quarter of the 101 students sampled were studying in the country when they had no leave to remain
– 20 of 50 files checked found no proper evidence that the students had attained the mandatory English level required.
– 57% of the sampled records had attendance and monitoring issues that made it impossible to know if the students were attending classes.
Effect on London Metropolitan University
Initially the UKBA insisted that all its foreign students would have to leave however a High court ruling gave leave for bona fide foreign students to continue their studies pending a full hearing of the Universities call for a Judicial review of the original decision.
The ruling allowed students with full immigration status who were already enrolled or who had been offered a place at the university to stay until the end of this academic year or till the end of their course (which ever was sooner.)
Despite the ruling, less than half of the international students eligible to stay opted to do so with more than 55% of students finding a place else where or abandoning university study altogether.
Rival London based universities started aggressive marketing campaigns in hopes of snapping up former London Met students. Of the 1,385 students who had the option to stay at the University only 626 chose to do so.
It was the UKBA’s decision to revoke the universities Tier 4 sponsorship status who have since faced intense scrutiny not just for the London Metropolitan decision but also for poor performance.
Universities UK Chief executive Nicola Dandridge described the decision to revoke the licence as a “disproportionate reaction to a situation that should have been addressed without recourse to such drastic action”.
The UKBA faced intense scrutiny over its performance as almost half its forced removals it attempted had to be cancelled after successful legal challenges.