UK immigration issues advice for London Metropolitan University students

The UK Border Agency (UKBA) has issued further advice for students at London Metropolitan University (LMU) who were affected by its decision to revoke the university's Highly Trusted Sponsor (HTS) status in August 2012.

On 4th January 2013, the UKBA issued a statement advising all international students at LMU that it will be writing to them shortly to tell them whether they will be able to continue their studies at LMU.

On 29th August 2012, the UKBA revoked the HTS status of LMU. This meant that it could no longer sponsor students from outside the European Economic Area for Tier 4 student visas. The UKBA said that LMU had not taken proper steps to ensure that international students
• Spoke university-standard English
• Attended lectures and
• Had Tier 4 student visas.

2,500 students told to leave UK without finishing their courses

The UKBA decision meant that some 2,500 international students faced being expelled from the UK without finishing their courses. They were initially informed that they would have to leave the UK within 60 days.

LMU has launched legal proceedings against the UKBA. It is asking the court to order the UKBA to reverse its decision. The case will come to court early in 2013. The UKBA has said that it will oppose LMU's case vigorously.

Genuine students being punished for no reason

Critics of the UKBA decision complained in August that genuine students were being punished for no reason. The UK government set up a process to help 'genuine students' to find other courses where they could continue their studies in the UK. In order to continue studying in the UK, LMU students would have to
• Find another course
• Apply to the university concerned requesting a place
• Obtain a fresh sponsorship from the new university
• Apply to the UKBA for a new Tier 4 student visa.

In October 2012, the UKBA wrote to all international students at LMU to ask them what their intentions were. The letter asked them whether they intended to remain at LMU, transfer to a new university or leave the country. The UKBA said in October that it would not make decisions about affected students until January 2013 in order to give them time to make alternative arrangements.

If you are an international student at LMU, you should receive a letter shortly if you have not done so already. If the UKBA accepts that you are enrolled at LMU then you will be entitled to continue your studies there either until the end of the academic year, or until the end of your course, whichever is sooner.

Apply for new Tier 4 visa

If you have applied to another UK academic institution to study there and that institution has agreed to sponsor you for a new Tier 4 student visa, you can apply to the UKBA again for a new Tier 4 visa, if you have not already done so.

If you have applied to another institution and you have not yet heard from them, then you should receive a response by 18th January 2013. While you are waiting for this decision, you may continue your studies at LMU.

If the UKBA considers that you are not a genuine student at LMU, it will write to you within a few days, if it has not already, to tell you that you will be required to leave the country within 60 days. If you did not respond to the UKBA letter in October, the UKBA says that it will instruct you to leave the UK within 60 days.

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