Lessons learned: London Met ban on international students, lifted
London Metropolitan University’s licence to admit students from outside the EU has been reinstated, following a Home Office revision of how they monitor such students.
London Met’s licence was revoked last August following the discovery that some international students were not eligible to be in the country. There were also serious issues with how the university ensured students were complying with the terms and requirements of their sponsorship. As a result of the ban, many were given a limited time to find a new course elsewhere - itself a makor stress - or else face being sent home
But now, following six months of inspections, the Home Office has lifted the ban. The university will remain on probation for twelve months to further prove their competency over an extended period of time (as a result, recruitment of international students will be limited in this time).
The situation was a temporary blotch on Britain’s sterling reputation as a popular destination for students from around the world. If unresolved, it would have proved detrimental to not only the diversity of student bodies across the country, but to the finances of institutions.
London Met’s Vice-chancellor, Professor Malcolm Gillies, promised yesterday, that ‘students can have total confidence that our processes are stronger than ever’. He continued to commend the London Met community, ‘and, in particular, international students for their patience and support over the last nine months’.
Now that we have received this good news, what can we learn from all that has happened?
There will be limited recruitment of international students wishing to apply to London Met in the next twelve months. So if you are planning to apply, do so as soon as possible to ensure the best chance of securing your place. Additionally, consider similar institutions or courses available elsewhere to avoid disappointment.
Immigration minister Mark Harper noted that inspections had been ongoing for the last six months. This suggests that finding a solution was a priority, and that efforts were ongoing to rectify the situation as soon as possible. Hopefully this will reaffirm confidence in the education system to respond to situations quickly.
This situation was a clear reminder of the value of international students to not just universities, but countries as a whole. There are as many as 300,000 students from outside Europe studying in the UK at any one time, bringing in £5 billion to the economy at a tough time. These statistics have been circulated throughout the media, so hopefully they will be considered alongside the immigration debate.
Last August when the story came to light, a lot of scary words were being thrown around in the media; words such as ‘deportation’ and ‘stranded’. In some cases, these were overshadowing real advice and help which could have helped those involved, and appease panic. In the future, if a news development occurs which may affect you, find out what your university or an official education-related body has to say first; don’t rely on a newspaper report or blog.
While we cannot vouch for London Met, we are confident that their sense of community really shone through during this time; that students and staff alike did everything they could to support those international students who were going through a tough time. It’s times like that these, when the close bonds formed on massive university campuses worldwide, are truly validated.
Paul Ellett is the editor for Hotcourses Abroad. His role is to plan, produce and share editorial, videos, infographics, eBooks and any other content to inform prospective and current international students about their study abroad experience. When he's not thinking about student visas in Sweden and application deadlines, Paul is an avid fan of comedy podcasts and Nicolas Cage films.