The writer is a human rights lawyer

You can visit for updates on this and other matters.


The revocation of London Metropolitan University’s license to sponsor students from outside the EU has sent shock waves across the education sector as well as thousands of international students studying in other UK universities.

The Home Office said that the attendance at the university in question was not monitored to the standards required by the UK Border Agency (UKBA) and many students were not attending the classes according to the results of the sample taken. The Home Office further noted that many students do not have a right to be in the UK and speak little or poor English.

Interestingly, the university has not challenged the observations of the Home Office. All it has challenged, so far, is the proportionality of the penalty they face – revocation of the sponsor license.

The immigration lawyers and pressure groups have been warning against the implications of the student visa / sponsorship rules since their inception. It is indeed the first university to have been stripped off its ability to sponsor students from outside the EU. However, many colleges have fallen victim of the UKBA sponsorship rules which all of a sudden are viewed as ‘strict’ and condemned as damning for economy in leading newspaper articles. The economic and psychological impact on students from those other colleges was no different from those affected by the latest revocation.

The hue and cry splashed across the national media seems to be flowing from the concern for profit-making rather than the suffering of international students. The government seems to be targetting international students after failing to achieve their promised lowering of net migration figures. From universities’ point of view, its a worrying situation since no one knows who could be the next target despite assurances from the ministers that this is not a general problem of the entire sector but only limited to one university. But indeed the predicament of London Metropolitan University could potentially be the future of any other university. And above all, the recent revocation has sent a message across the world that its not just the colleges – even universities could become victim of the UKBA rules.

The rules themselves are also unfair and discouraging. The affected third year students in their final semesters, for example, have nowhere to go to complete their degree courses. They have only two options remaining: either find a new university and redo the whole third year again (which is an economic uphill struggle besides a psychological disaster) or voluntarily return to their home countries without obtaining their degrees! The failure of a university to abide by the UKBA rules should be dealt with between the university and the UKBA but the present rules penalise the students much more the universities since they lose their dreams.

The latest application of the rules has already damaged the UK brand of higher education. The government should repeal the current set of sponsorship rules and replace them with those which focus on penalising the failed universities rather than students who are neither fully aware of the laws nor the operations of the university. Punishing genuine, law abiding students for the shortfall of university and immigration offences of a small proportion of students is not just against the principles of natural justice but also ethically abhorrent.

The writer is a human rights lawyer

You can visit for updates on this and other matters.

The revocation …


6 thoughts on “The revocation …

  1. Michele Johnson says:

    As an American at London Met I am affected by this decision. My dissertation was due Friday. From your understanding of the ruling is London Met allowed to grade that dissertation? I spoke to an immigration solicitor who said from her understanding as on Wednesday the 29th at 8pm London Met was no longer allowed to accept work, grade or teach non-eu students. However the University claims because they are in negotiations they can accept and will grade and give me my diploma. I am not sure how they can issue any diplomas to non-eu students. From the official word from UKBA it seems they aren’t allowed to do anything involving non-eu students? If you have any answers that would be great!

    • zaakbarlaw says:

      Dear Michele, I am sorry to hear that you are one of the affected.

      The LMU is no longer allowed to sponsor international students to study in the UK. All CAS already issued by LMU will become invalid and cannot be used to support a Tier 4 application.

      Once the license is revoked, the relationship between the student and the institution breaks at that point.

      Please note that the UKBA will write to you after 1st October and the 60-day deadline will not commence until then.

      A lot is expected to flow from this decision in the coming days. You can follow developments on this at

      Z A Akbar

  2. Bob says:

    Dear I am very much confused with the 60 days deadline when does it start and does the revocation of licence of the college/Uni always follow by the UKBA giving deadline to the student of his 60 days …can you please elaborate it as the new rule are coming which says one day overstay will render any application refused.

  3. zaakbarlaw says:

    Dear Bob,

    You do not need to do anything immediately. From 1 October 2012, the UKBA will begin writing to you and other London Metropolitan students about your permission to stay in the UK (known as ‘leave’). Your leave may be reduced to 60 days (known as ‘curtailing’ your leave). This time is intended to give you time to find another sponsor or to leave the country. The time will start from the date they write to you.

    If you have already found another education provider and made a valid application to extend your stay in the UK (known as ‘further leave to remain’), the UKBA will not curtail your leave.

    The Tier 4 requirements may have changed since your original application, so you should read them carefully. For example, English language requirements changed in 2011.

    Alternatively, if you meet the requirements, you may be able to apply to switch into a different immigration category, for example one of the categories for working in the UK.

    If you cannot find another sponsor the UKBA will expect you to leave the UK at the end of your 60 days.

    Please note that the new rules regarding overstaying in the UK will only apply once you overstay after the 60 days deadline and that will commence after 1st October 2012 when the UKBA writes to you.

    You can visit for updates related to this topic.

  4. Bob says:

    Thankyou for your reply my concern is not London Met. Uni. Actually my college got blacklisted in March this year and I have NOT received any letter from UKBA I have not even taken Admission in any new course but my leave is till April 2013. I would be greatful if you can please advise me of my status in UK now. Am I a overstayer.

    Second situation is of my friend who is in similar situation but his college got blacklisted a year ago, he has not received any document from UKBA but receintly he received a letter asking him to attend an iterview at Solihull, to discuss his immigration status. Is this a call for removal or he can take the defence that he has not received any letter of curtailment of his leave, again his leave is till March 2013.


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