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'UKBA Deportation No Way!'

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This was the chant of hundreds of staff, students and union representatives who took to the streets of London today. They were there to rally outside the Home Office with the purpose of contesting UKBA's decision to revoke London Metropolitan's licence to sponsor international students.

Over 2,000 students have been affected by the UKBA's decision. Non-EU students who have already started courses will be unable to continue their studies at the university. They now have two options. One is to attempt to transfer courses. This involves applying to other universities and hoping they are accepted. The alternative; face deportation.

Both these options are undesirable the students and pose obvious problems. Those lucky be accepted by another university may face the prospect of having to repeat years they have already completed. Financing the cost of these extra years of study may be problematic for these students. International students already face tuition fees exceeding that of British students. Those coming from poorer Non-EU countries may find this extremely difficult.

Aaron Kiely, NUS Black Students Officer said the campaign is doing everything it can to support the international students. He said "Many students are coming to us asking for advice, they must contact their immigration adviser if they have any concerns about their status here."

London Metropolitan University deny claims that over a quarter of a sample taken from university did not have permission to be in the country and are launching legal action against the government. Vice-chancellor of the University, Malcolm Gilles, contested UKBA's report and claimed that the Border Agency change it's requirements 14 times.

He said the University will continue to "fundamentally contest" the UKBA's ruling. The government has backed the UKBA's ruling and make clear their belief that the University was "failing to address serious and systemic failings" identified 6 months ago.

Like many of the sabbatical officers at London Metropolitan University, the Equality and Welfare Officer Bello Lukman is an international student. At today's rally he said "the revocation of London Met's license to give education to international students is an inhumane decision, an ill taken decision, one that will affect the lives of over 2000 students."

Whether or not the university is guilty of "systematic failures", it is clear to everyone that this is not the fault of the students currently studying at London Metropolitan. A diverse range of people attended the demonstration in solidarity with those being uprooted from the university they had worked so hard to be a part of. Denis Fernando from the organisation One Society Many Cultures said "It's absolutely brilliant to see international students standing up for themselves but also to see people from Britain standing up for international students and understanding how important it is to be giving this very warm welcome to people who are ultimately our classmates and who we want to have here studying with us"

A petition has been launched calling for an amnesty of the International students affected to allow them to complete their studies whilst the issues at the University are addressed.