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HC allows LMU Indian Students to Continue Studies

Around 350 Indian students of the London Metropolitan University and hundred of other scholars from non – EU countries, the High Court of England and Wales acting on the university’s application for interim relief allowed them to continue their studies while also allowing LMU authorities to challenge the recent revocation of its licence to admit non – EU students.

London Metropolitan University had moved the court seeking a reversal of a ban imposed on it by the United Kingdom Border Agency ( UKBA ), to admit and teach students from outside the EU, including India. Indian Students with valid visas were affected by the ban, and faced relegation, if they couldn’t find places at alternative universities.

The Vice – Chancellor, Professor Malcolm Gillies, said UKBA’s decision was based on “a highly flawed report by the UKBS”. The UK’s National Union Students may give evidence at the ensuing hearing, outlining the case had huge implications fro international students coming to Britain.

Lawyers representing the university while applying fro the ban to be lifted have appealed fro a judicial review of the matter. The University claims the UKBA ban could cost it up to £ 30 million ( Pound ) in income per year. The UKBA has insisted the decision to revoke do Met’s sponsor licence was correct.

A task force set by the British government is attempting to find the concerned students places at other institutions. It has also set aside a fund of £ 2 million to ensure these as well as students of other nationalities do not suffer any financial losses as a result of the restrictions imposed on London Met by UKBA.

Indian has, in fact, been at the forefront of pressurizing British authorities on protecting the interests of genuine students. The proactive role played by the Indian High Commission on London in this respect had fetched dividends.

A Diplomatic source said the Indian mission was the first to forcefully take up the matter with the British government, together with sending a diplomat to London Met to ascertain the facts. Following such moves, representatives of the UK authorities and UKBA came scurrying to the high commission the £ 2 million assistance package.

It was also at such meetings that the figure of around 350 Indian students facing turmoil was admitted by UKBA, and the 60 day deadline earlier given to them to register with other universities extended.

Last month the UKBA withdraw the universities “highly trusted status” which entitled it to sponsor students for UK visas in a crackdown on alleged of the students visa system. Apparently, an investigation had discovered that London Met was not making proper checks on students.

UKBA said the university had failed to address “serious failings” which had been pointed out more than six months ago. In a survey of 101 students, more than one – fourth had no permission to be in UK. Another check revealed a significant number of students did not speak good enough English to be granted a students visa. Besides, the attendance records of many wee found wanting.

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Reprieve for London Metropolitan University Students

Hundreds of foreign students in London Metropolitan University ( LMU ) who were facing deportation won a reprieve on 21st September, 2012 after the High Court granted permission to the university to seek a full judicial review of the government’s decision to strip it of its licence to recruit and teach students from outside the European Union.

The ruling means that while the university would not be able to recruit new foreign students, pending a review, current students with legitimate immigration students would be allowed to continue their studies.

There are 2,600 such students, including some 300 from India. They were facing deportation if they did not find places in other universities by December.

The LMU was stripped of its “Highly Trusted Status” that allowed it to sponsor foreign students on the grounds it was sheltering potentially illegal immigrants in the guise of students. The U.K. Border Agency ( UKBA ) had claimed that the university suffered from “systemic problems”, resulting in an abuse of student visas.

According to the agency, many students had no legal right to stay in Britain, while some lacked adequate knowledge of English. The university also failed to monitor the attendance of its overseas students as required under the terms of its licence, it claimed.

In the court, the university sought a temporary injunction arguing that the UKBA’s action was unlawful.

While the judge, Justice Irwin, declined to grant an injunction, he allowed the university to seek a full judicial review of the UKBA’s decision on the grounds that it was unfair to hundreds of genuine students. He ruled that existing students who had full immigration status would be allowed to continue their studies until the dispute was resolved. Details of how many students would benefit from the ruling were not immediately known.

The university’s Vice – Chancellor Malcolm Gillies said the ruling was good for students who had been hugely confused by the UKBA’s decision and would give all sides a chance to look at the issue in a “sober and serious way”.

The university said the revocation of its licence was based on a “highly flawed” report by the UKBA and insisted that it had been “diligently performing stringent checks to try and ensure that all individuals who are studying at the university are legally entitled to do so”.

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Financial help for Foreign Students of London Metropolitan University

The British government is to offer financial help to genuine students affected by the decision to ban the London Metropolitan University ( LMU ) from teaching non – European foreign students.

Universities Minister David Willetts on 13th September, 2012 announced that a £ 2 – million fund was being set up for the purpose.

“This will provide certainty to London Met students at what is a stressful and unsettling time,” he said.

Over 2,000 students, including about 300 from India, face deportation if they are not able to find places in other universities until December.

The university was stripped of its licence to sponsor and teach non – EU students last month for not properly monitoring overseas students, resulting in widespread abuse of student visas. It has denied the allegation and is taking legal action.

Mr. Willetts also signalled a review of the student immigration regime following criticism that it is too rigid and likely to deter foreign students from coming to Britain.

In recent months, rules for student visas have been made more stringent in order to bring down immigration numbers to “tens of thousands” as part of the ruling Conservative Party’s election pledge.

Universities who rely heavily on fee-paying foreign students for their income have called for overseas students to be excluded from the migration count, arguing that other developed countries such as America, Canada and Australia do not treat students as migrants.

Mr. Willetts said that the Office for National Statistics was exploring alternative ways to “better count students in immigration flows.”

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