About 2,500 non-EU students at the University of London Metropolitan now have to find a new higher education institution to sponsor them to obtain study visas, or face a return home in the next two months.
The British Border Agency revoked the university’s license to sponsor applications from international students for study visas on the grounds that the university was not vigilant enough in monitoring students’ academic requirements. These include proficiency in English, attending lectures and completing courses within the timeframes provided in their visas.
According to the British Border Agency, published in The Independent, 26 of the 101 students did not have valid visas, 142 of the 250 had problems with attendance, and 20 of the 50 respondents had difficulty with English. A total of 6,045 international students study at the university.
The decision was made just as hundreds of thousands of British, European and international students are vying for places at British universities before the start of the academic year in October.
According to the UK Council for International Student Affairs www.ukcisa.org.uk in the 2010-2011 academic year, about 428,225 international students (both from the EU and non-EU) were registered at UK universities, more than half from non-EU countries. Most of these students came from China, then from India and then from Nigeria.
The decision of the British Border Agency on the University of London Metropolitan is considered one-time, but it will add uncertainty among international students in the UK, although the university is not on their list of popularity. Manchester ranks first with 10,490 international students (both from the EU and from other countries), followed by University College London (9,350) and then Nottingham (8,590). London Metropolitan ranks 17th on the list with 6,045 international students.
Students from outside the EU are in high demand by universities in the UK because they pay much higher fees than British or European students.
International students are valued at £ 12.5 billion for economics annually. The vice-chancellor of the University of London Metropolitan said that the decision of the border agency to revoke the license “Highly trusted sponsor” could cost the university 30 million pounds.