For the first time, the UKBA decided to suspend of the Highly Trusted Sponsor status the London Metropolitan University in July. In this way, London Metropolitan University has lost its licence to teach foreign students and will become the first UK university be stripped of its Highly Trusted Sponsor status by the UK Border Agency.
Professor Gillies, university’s vice-chancellor, told that this decision is going to have an “immense” impact on London Met and its partners, especially for students who are already enrolled.
According to the information published by the UKBA, if its licence is withdrawn, overseas students would only have permission to stay in the UK for 60 days. In this case students would have to find another university or college to sponsor them.This would affect about 2,700 current overseas students, who will have already paid for one or more years of a degree course.
Nevertheless Professor Gillies has announced that it had done everything it was possible to demonstrate its fitness to continue educating students since the UKBA suspended its highly trusted status seven weeks ago. The UKBA says it will not comment on why the licence was suspended. According to a report of the Sunday Times, the event has been judged as a “threat to immigration control”. Nevertheless Professor Gillies told that he didn’t think it was a threat. He explained “the university has been working for the last year, like most universities, to make sure it’s up to date with what the border agency is requiring. There have been many changes this year. We’ve even had an audit and then a review of all of our files. The Border Agency has been auditing us a number of times and they’ve asked a series of questions of us, we’ve put answers back and we don’t have any response to that (…). I’d like to know what exactly is being claimed here and what is the evidence for it.”
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