The Home Office has confirmed that over 350 foreign students at the London School of Business and Finance (LSBF) will be asked to leave the UK, after the private college had its Tier 4 sponsorship revoked. The sponsorship is a license that universities and colleges must apply for in order to enrol full-time students from outside of the European Economic Area in the UK.
The college, which is part of the for-profit education group Global University Systems has several branches in the UK, Asia and North America. It has been said that the group have breached the terms of its responsibilities in sponsoring non-EU students. LSBF later cited a “technical discussion” as the origin of the issue, revealing that the Home Office was concerned about the proportion of foreign students recruited at the college whose visa applications were later refused. According to some of the students, the Home Office have been sending out a “notice of curtailment”.
The government informed students that their documents have been revised and state that the students’ records provide no evidence of what their intentions are in the UK, whether they “have made a fresh application for entry clearance, leave to enter, or leave to remain in the United Kingdom.” The notice concludes that “the Secretary of State has therefore decided to curtail your leave to enter or remain.”
In a statement released by the rector of LSBF, Professor Mauritus van Rooijen, the next course of action for the students affected is outlined. Rooijen was “surprised and shocked” by the Home Office’s decision. He states that most of the students affected by the government’s decision are in their final year of their undergraduate degree or are enrolled in a one-year postgraduate course.
Remaining hopeful, Rooijen believes that since the students have almost come to the end of their studies, the college will be able to accelerate their teaching in order to ensure students receive their degree qualifications by the end of March. Those few students that are not in their final year of study will most likely be transferred to one of LSBF’s partner schools in Italy or France.
A statement published by the National Union of Students (NUS) revealed that the issue raised about the college having its Tier 4 sponsorship license revoked was first raised last year. Subsequently, when the NUS asked for a meeting with LSBF to discuss the future of international students at the college, there was no response. On the whole, the NUS is worried that the “options given to students at LSBF, to squash their course into a shorter time frame or to move their studies to Italy or France, are not good enough.”
Mostafa Rajaai, NUS’ International Students’ Officer, is heavily critical of the government’s role in the recent events, particularly with regard to its stance on immigration: “NUS is calling on the government to stop the unfair and unjust treatment of international students. Our research has already shown more than half of non-EU students think the government is unwelcoming towards international students.
“We believe the repeated attacks on international students are part of the government’s wider stance against immigration. NUS will continue to fight for the rights of the students who come to the UK hoping to brighten their futures and are instead met with hostility.”
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