7th September 2012 1:30 pm
"Hands off our classmates". From left to right: Maria (Education Officer), Richard (Activities Officer), Kit (Communications Officer), Kelly (President), Carl (Operations Officer) and Indi (Welfare Officer).
Approximately 2,600 international students at London Metropolitan University have been sent a ‘Letter of Curtailment’, informing them that their visa has expired and they have 60 days to either find a new course at a different institution, or leave the country. This follows the UK Border Agency's (UKBA) decision to revoke London Met's 'highly trusted' status for teaching students from outside the EU.
This decision affects students in all stages of their course, who have already invested heavily in their education. 9 out of 10 members of London Met's Students’ Union Executive are also international students and will be affected.
The information was leaked to the Sunday Times before it was formally announced on Thursday 30 August and many students found out through the press, rather than through official channels.
The UKBA have claimed that the reason for their decision is that London Met could not supply sufficient information relating to students' right to remain in the country, language proficiency and class attendance.
It’s also worth noting that such a decision has also been applied to a number of other private and public colleges. Other Higher and Further Education institutions across the UK - including Sussex - are currently preparing for their audit visit from UKBA.
London Met have now announced that they will be launching legal action against the decision, stating that there was “no evidence of systematic failings” following the receipt of the report from the UKBA. They have accused the UKBA officers of "ignoring information that was made available to them when they conducted their audit".
It is now feared that London Met could be taken over by a private firm if the knock on effects of this decision lead to the institution becoming insolvent.
"The Government is sending out a message to the rest of the world that international students, including those who have already invested thousands of pounds and several years into their education in the UK, are dispensable.
"It's a damaging move for the UK’s reputation, especially at a time when many institutions, including Sussex, hope to significantly increase the number of international students over the coming years.
"The Students’ Union strongly condemns the UKBA’s decision to revoke the visas of international students studying at London Met, and call for it to be reversed immediately to allow current international students to complete their studies.
"It is simply not acceptable to force thousands of students to find a new course at a new institution and is an alarming and disproportionate measure.
"The Students’ Union recognises the immense value that international students bring to an institution and the impact that this decision will have on all students who study at London Met.
"We stand in solidarity with the students affected and join the National Union of Students and Students’ Unions across the UK in doing so."
Sign the NUS petition condemning the decision.
Follow your Full-time Elected Officers in uploading a picture of support for London Met students to the ‘Hands off my classmates’ campaign blog.