STUDENTS
03/12/2013 13:33 GMT | Updated 03/12/2013 13:34 GMT

London Metropolitan University: 150 Non-EU Students Sent Home After Visa Revoked

More than 150 non-EU students enrolled at London Metropolitan University were sent back to their home countries after the government stripped the institution of its highly trusted sponsor status.

Last year, more than 2,600 international students faced losing their right to study in the UK after London Met University's (LMU) licence to recruit overseas students was revoked by the UK Border Agency (UKBA) in July 2012. Of 101 sample cases, 26 London Met University students were studying between last December and May even though they had no leave to remain in the UK, UKBA figures showed.

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A lack of required monitoring meant there was no proof the overseas students were turning up to lectures in 142 of 250 (57%) sampled records. The figures prompted immigration minister Damian Green to say a "significant proportion" did not have a good standard of English and do not turn up to lectures.

Now, according to a recent FOI request by the BBC, it has emerged 153 students lost their leave to study in the UK, after the Home Office wrote to more than 1,000 students demanding they share their "plans".

Of those students, 927 were allowed to continue their studies at London Met, with 167 moving to other universities. More than 350 students were facing being sent home but were not pursued by the Home Office "for reasons such as students returning overseas or switching to another immigration category", the BBC continued.

The remaining students had their "leave in the UK curtailed", and were "advised" by the government to leave or regularise their stay.

At the time of LMU's loss of its licence, Salima Mawji, director at Match Solicitors, a legal service specialising in education law, told The Huffington Post UK students may be able to pursue legal challenges due to the way they had been treated.

"It is only right and proper that the court deals with this application swiftly and makes a decision based on legal argument as the impact on international students is immense.

"The real victims in the current scenario are students who have spent thousands of pounds seeking a British education, only to be told that the institution that they placed their trust and reliance on, has let them down."

Earlier this year, LMU was told it would be allowed to take foreign students again after the Home Office decided it met requirements.

LMU declined to comment on the recent Home Office figures.