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London Met students "gutted" by University's visa ban

ANGER: A protest by London Metropolitan's students representatives outside Downing Street yesterday (Aug 30). Pic: PA

STUDENTS AT London Metropolitan University have been left “gutted” and in “fear” of the future after immigration officials revoked the educational institution’s right to sponsor visas for foreign students.

The UK Border Agency (UKBA) announced the decision last week, six weeks after suspending the school’s Highly Trusted Status (HTS) for sponsoring international students.

The UKBA said it made the decision after the university failed to improve several failings identified six months ago.

Approximately 3000 foreign students at the University have been left in limbo, given just 60 days to find an alternative institution to sponsor them or face deportation.

Some students and their representatives protested outside the Prime Minister's Office in Downing Street, London yesterday (Aug 30).

VISA SPONSORSHIP REVOKED: London Metropolitan University

Nigerian Emmanuel Egwu, a second year Forensic Science student at London Met, had been looking forward to going into third year – and said he had already spent an estimated £30,000 in tuition - when the news struck.

The 24-year-old, from Abuja, told The Voice : “I’m really down. My parents have spent a lot of money for my tuition. It is not only me; it’s other students. I’m really gutted. It’s an outrageous act.”

Egwu added: “They can’t treat people’s lives like that. This is my future. This is our future…I never believe in my life that the government can do this kind of thing. I pray the government can change its decision.”

The decision has come under harsh criticism from officials such as Liam Burns, National Union of Students’ (NUS) president.

He said the move “will create panic and potential heartbreak for students not just at London Met but also all around the country”.

Adnan Pavel, the University’s Student Union’s vice president, said the decision would affect more than 3000 students, some of whom are on scholarships and are just one semester away from completing their course.

He told The Voice : “For the last two, three days we receive a number of phone calls from the international students and emails as well saying they are very scared, they don’t know what will happen to their future.

"Most of the universities have stopped recruiting new students so the students that are affected are really worried whether they will get into another university or not. The students are scared, their parents are scared, everyone is scared.”

CAMPAIGN: London Metropolitan University's Student Union VP Adnan Pavel

He continued: “We are planning for some sort of campaign. We are planning some sort of movement.”

He added: “We have some plan and we are closely working with the NUS,” Pavel said.

“We do have a plan. What we are trying to do is to send out a message to the government that the decision that they have made is wrong and is actually affecting the genuine students.”

Pavel said student union officials have been writing to ambassadors, MPs, media and others.

“After discussing with NUS and meeting within ourselves, getting advice from other student unions from different universities, we will set up an agenda about what we are going to do next.”

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