It has just been announced that the UK Border Agency has withdrawn international student statuses from London Met, leaving thousands of students forced out of university through no fault of their own.
To sign the following statement “condemnation of the withdrawal of London Met’s international student status – solidarity with staff and students at London Met” email [email protected]
As officers, students and representatives of thousands of students from London HE institutions, we express our outright condemnation of the withdrawal of London Metropolitan University’s Highly Trusted Sponsor status by the UKBA, which has been announced on August 29th.
HTS status allows the university to sponsor international students from outside the EU to study in the UK, and after much speculation, it has now been announced by UKBA that London Met’s license has been revoked.
The withdrawal of HTS status at London Met represents the first case of a publicly-funded university having its license revoked.
This reckless decision by UKBA has left over 2600 international students at London Metropolitan University in an incredibly vulnerable situation. They are now unable to renew their visas, unable to start or continue their studies past September, and are faced with the option of having 60 days to either find a place to study at another HE institution or having to forcibly leave the UK.
As fellow students, we condemn the racist, xenophobic policies of the Coalition government and of the UKBA, which are the prime cause of this shameful state of affairs. As part of their efforts to crack down on all immigrants, the UKBA has been targeting and criminalizing international students, introducing harsh systems of surveillance within universities and now taking their studies and livelihoods away. We believe this to be unacceptable: education is a right regardless of country of origin, and it is deplorable that students should be treated as criminals and manipulated in such a heavy handed manner.
This attack on students at London Metropolitan, a predominantly working class, London-based university, follows the damage wrought in the past few years by loss of public funding, financial mismanagement, privatisation and cuts to courses enforced by its management. The removal of HTS status infers yet another tragic blow to London Metropolitan University, and this cannot be allowed to go unchallenged, for the sake of its students and staff, the institution as a whole and the future of public higher education.
We stand in solidarity with all the students affected at London Metropolitan University, and with the staff who are continuing to resist the systematic attacks which have affected their institution. We support action taken by students and staff at London Metropolitan University against the withdrawal of HTS, and call on the Government to immediately reinstate London Metropolitan’s HTS status, and stop jeopardizing the futures of thousands of international students who have chosen to study in the UK and are now instead faced with the prospect of deportation.
London Met SU are putting together plans for a protest, further details out soon.
To sign the statement or press/media communications, email [email protected]