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What will happen to London Met's international students?

5th September 2012

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International Students

Thousands of international students at London Metropolitan University have been left in limbo after the university lost their licence to teach students from outside the EU. What are their options for the future? 

The UK Boarder Agency (UKBA) revoked London Metropolitan University's (LMU) licence after they discovered a “serious systemic failure” during audits over the last six months

The current 2,600 international students at LMU now have just 60 days to find a new institution to complete their degrees at or face deportation from the UK.

Current students who are part of the way through their courses will now lose their places.

Immigration minister Damian Green said the UKBA audits of LMU found that more than a quarter of student cases they sampled didn’t have the correct visas to remain in Britain. There was also no proof that a large proportion of international students had a satisfactory level of English and in more than half of the cases the university didn’t know whether students were attending their lectures.

Mr Green said: "What we found here is a serious systemic failure where it appears that the university doesn't have the capacity to be a proper sponsor of international students and to have confidence that the students have the right to be here in the first place."

This decision now leaves many students unable to complete their degrees, most of which have cost thousands of pounds. The university yesterday promised to take the decision to court "as a matter of urgency" with the hope of at least allowing current students to complete their courses.

Bibek Pokharel from Nepal told the BBC: “I come from a poor country with one dream- to get a degree from a British university.

"My poor family saved money for this, I also managed to save some money to make that possible.”

He said the only way he would be able to continue with his course is if LMU refunded his tuition fees so he could start his degree again at another institution.

The UKBA stressed that the problems are just with London Metropolitan University, not the whole sector, and students are welcome to attend another university to complete their studies.

However it doesn’t appear that transferring to another university is as simple as the UKBA is suggesting. With only a few weeks until the new term begins, many students have found it is too late to apply for course at other universities as places are now full. Some have also found other universities wont accept them as they can’t accept transfer students, or the course modules are completely different to those studied at LMU.

Although it may be difficult to find another institution so close to the new school year, many other UK universities have offered their support to students affected by the decision.

For example Regents College have set aside 200 places for LMU international students and is also offering £800,000 in scholarships.

Other universities who have pledged their support are advising international students looking to transfer to contact them on the following numbers:

University of East London: 020 8223 3300.

Birmingham City University: 0121 331 6714.

Richmond University: 020 8332 9000.

De Montfort University: 0116 207 8357.

University of Bolton: 01204 903110.

University of Portsmouth: 023 92 843414.

Middlesex University: 020 8411 5555.

Current international students at LMU are advised to call 020 7133 4141 or go into the Help Centre at the Holloway Road campus.


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