Overseas Students Uncertainty

London Metropolitan University has set up a help-line for overseas applicants as uncertainty still hangs over its right to recruit international students. With just weeks before the start of the term, London Met does not know whether it will be permitted to teach new or even existing overseas students. In an article by the BBC, the university has already said that this lack of certainty has cost it £10m and risks sending “panic” among students. As a former “highly trusted sponsor”, London Met has had its status suspended in July – which has prevented it from being allowed to recruit overseas students.

At present, there has been no decision on whether the licence will be revoked or reinstated – leaving the university in a state of limbo. Among other Higher Education providers, there have been other suspensions, but so far no UK University has been fully stripped of its ability to recruit overseas students. Recent Tory sanctions on overseas students have not only impacted new applicants, but will also affect thousands of existing international students at university, who might be in their second or third year.

According to information published by the UKBA, if a university has its licence withdrawn, overseas students have permission to stay in the UK for 60 days. During this period, students would have to find another university or college to sponsor them.

As stated elsewhere, overseas students have become a vital source of income for universities – and blocking them will have serious financial implications. The National Union of Students has called for immediate clarification about the consequences for students “plunged into disarray” by reports that London Met’s licence would be withdrawn. “This situation is already costing real students, real money and real distress,” said NUS president Liam Burns.

London Metropolitan University vice chancellor Malcolm Gillies said: “To learn that we might have our highly trusted sponsor status revoked via a newspaper, with the panic that this can cause for thousands of students, is outrageous.” University leaders have called for students to be removed from the immigration figures, but this has been rejected by Tory ministers.

Dr Yaz Osho specialises in the politics of ‘race’ and racism, SME entrepreneurship, media representation, the sociology of work and racialized offline vs online identity politics. She has taught at Middlesex University, UEL, Goldsmiths, University of Westminster and was a Senior Visiting Fellow at the University of Sussex.

Categories: Higher Education

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