London: As uncertainty grew for present and future students from India and other non-EU countries at a major London university, senior Labour MP Keith Vaz on Wednesday called for a quick decision on whether the university is able to admit overseas students or not.
The London Metropolitan University, which recruits many students from India and has two offices in New Delhi and Chennai, had its licence to admit international students suspended by the UK Border Agency (UKBA) in July.
A final decision by the UKBA on its licence is expected any day, but its urgency has been highlighted by the fact that the next academic year begins next month.
The decision will not only affect Indian students already on courses, but also new students planning to travel to London shortly.
In a letter to Immigration Minister Damian Green today, Vaz, who is chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, wrote: "For the sake of this university and others, especially at this time of year, I hope the minister will urgently clarify the situation."
A UKBA spokesperson today told a news agency that no decision had been taken on the university’s licence to admit Indian and other international students.
The university is facing an investigation as part of efforts to curb student visa abuse. The university`s vice-chancellor, Malcolm Gillies, appealed to Vaz to help in the situation.
He added: "Whilst the committee are fully supportive of the government`s efforts to clamp down on the abuse of student visas, and the need to follow rigorous processes, I share the vice-chancellor`s concerns about the procedure in the case."
Vaz said he was particularly concerned that the issue would case "considerable confusion to domestic students, as well as overseas students who will be arriving to start their course".
Since its licence was suspended in July, the London Metropolitan University is?not allowed to recruit any new international students to its courses.
Those students that are already studying at the university still have leave to remain in the UK. But if the university`s licence is revoked, it will affect the status of current international students also.
In that situation, Indian and other international students will be issued a Letter Of Curtailment, which they will have 60 days from the date they receive the letter to either be accepted onto a course at a different institution in the UK, or to leave the UK.
The university`s students` union said it had received "hundreds of phone calls" from worried students and their families.
"They are really scared about their future. These genuine students, coming from different parts of the world, are in a miserable situation," said Adnan Pavel, vice president of the students` union.