London: Hundreds of Indian students are among over 2,600 non-EU students at a major London university who face deportation after immigration officials on Wednesday night revoked its licence to admit international students due to “serious and systemic failures”.
In a move that sent ripples across Britain’s higher education sector, the UK Border Agency (UKBA) stripped London Metropolitan University (LMU) of its licence to admit international students, putting the future of its non-EU students in serious jeopardy.
If the Indian and other non-EU students already on courses at the university are unable to transfer to another UK university within 60 days, they face deportation to their home countries, according to UKBA rules.
Indian students who have already secured visa and are preparing to come and study at LMU from next month, will have their visas cancelled due to the revocation.
The Home Office guidance to universities states: “If a student has already been given a visa when we revoke your licence, we will cancel it if they have not travelled to the UK. If they then travel to the UK, we will refuse them entry.”
LMU, which has faced serious funding and other issues in recent years, said the “the implications of the revocation are hugely significant and far-reaching”, but its Vice-Chancellor Malcolm Gillies said its “absolute priority” was current and prospective students and that the university “will meet all its obligations to them”.
A task force has been set up to help Indian and other students affected by the revocation.
Universities Minister David Willetts 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”.
He added: “We are asking HEFCE (Higher Education Funding Council for England) and Universities UK to lead a task force, which will include UKBA 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.”