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University's licence revoked

LONDON — More than 2,000 students potentially face deportation after a London university had its licence to teach and recruit overseas students revoked.

London Metropolitan University has had its right to sponsor students from outside the EU revoked, and will no longer be allowed to authorise visas.

The UK Border Agency says student attendance is not being monitored and that many have no right to be here.

The university said it would be challenging UKBA’s claims.

A task force has been set up to help students affected by the decision which means some 2,000 overseas, non-EU, students have 60 days to find an alternative institution to sponsor them or face deportation.

Announcing the move on Wednesday night, the UK Border Agency said London Metropolitan University had “failed to address serious and systemic failings” identified six months ago.

The Higher Education Funding Council for England said it was an “unprecedented situation which relates only to London Metropolitan University” — which has a total of 30,000 students.

It added: “It will not affect existing or future international students at other universities. No other UK university has had its licence to sponsor international students revoked, and UKBA’s decision does not in any way reflect concern about licensing arrangements at other universities in the UK.”

The university’s Highly Trusted Status was suspended last month while the UKBA examined alleged failing, preventing it from being allowed to recruit overseas students.

Immigration Minister Damian Green said London Metropolitan University had failed in three particular areas:

* More than a quarter of the 101 students sampled were studying at the university when they had no leave to remain in this country.

* Some 20 of 50 checked files found “no proper evidence” that the students’ mandatory English levels had been reached.

* And some 142 of 250 (57 per cent) sampled records had attendance monitoring issues which meant it was impossible for the university to know whether students were turning up for classes or not. (BBC)

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