Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 29 November 2014

University to take foreigners again

London Metropolitan University lost its highly-trusted status for sponsoring non-EU students last August
London Metropolitan University lost its highly-trusted status for sponsoring non-EU students last August

A university that was stripped of its right to admit international students will once again be able to take on foreigners.

London Metropolitan University lost its highly-trusted status (HTS) for sponsoring students from outside the EU last August after it failed to address failings identified by the now-defunct UK Border Agency (UKBA).

But following a series of inspections, the Home Office is satisfied that the university has improved and now meets the requirements needed to sponsor foreign students.

Immigration Minister Mark Harper said: "It is in the interest of international students that all institutions take their immigration responsibilities seriously and demonstrate that they comply with the rules. This is exactly why the sponsorship system was set up.

"We have worked closely with university staff to ensure that London Met standards were improved. As a result the university now meets the required standards and we are able to grant a licence. We will continue to welcome the brightest and best students to our world-class universities."

Of 101 sample cases at London Met University, 26 students were studying between December 2011 and May 2012 despite the fact that they held no leave to remain in the UK.A lack of required monitoring meant there was no proof that students were turning up to lectures in 142 of 250 - or 57% - sampled records.

And 20 of 50 files checked for evidence of mandatory English language testing and academic qualifications showed poor assessment where documents were either not verified or not held.

The university will now be subject to 12 months' probation in order to build a track record of compliance with the rules for sponsoring students to study in the UK, the Home Office said. During this period there will also be a limit on the number of international students the university can enrol.

After London Met's licence was revoked, the university took legal action in a bid to have the ban overturned.

The High Court later granted students already at the institution a temporary reprieve from deportation, although the full case has yet to be heard.

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