London Met launches legal action over deportation move

London Metropolitan University has launched legal action after the UK Border Agency (UKBA) removed its licence to teach international students, leaving 2,000 people facing deportation.

The university, which has a campus in Commercial Road, will no longer be licenced to teach students from outside the EU. In reaching the decision, the Border Agency cited London Met’s failure to address “serious and systematic failings” in the process by which it determined whether international students had the right to remain in the UK.

The university confirmed on Tuesday that it has launched legal proceedings in a bid to challenge the decision.

Its vice chancellor, Professor Malcolm Gillies, said: “London Met will fight this revocation, which is based on a highly flawed report by the UKBA. The University will continue to give top priority to the interests of our international students who have been so distressed by this precipitate action.”

The students affected have three months in which to find an alternative course. From October 1 the UKBA will begin sending letters to students giving them 60 days to make a new application or arrange to leave the UK.

A statement on the university’s website read: “Our priority now is to help those students affected by this news. We are working to help place our current international students successfully into alternative institutions so they may complete their studies.”

The decision has been widely condemned at both national and local level.

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Cllr Bill Turner, Tower Hamlets’ Labour spokesman for education, said: “Banning the university from accepting international students will cut off a massive chunk of their funding and could put the institution at risk. This would be a disaster for all of those in Tower Hamlets who choose to study at London Met each year, as it represents a close and convenient option for local residents.”

Labour MP for Bethnal Green and Bow Rushanara Ali added: “Foreign students now face weeks of uncertainty and potentially substantial expenses having had to pay to move to the UK already. Local students will see their university losing much needed funding at a time when they are already struggling to cope with funding cuts to higher education.”