Britain’s reputation as a world-class center for higher education faces irreparable damage, the Government was warned, as more than 2,500 foreign students fought desperately to avoid deportation after their visas were suddenly cancelled.
The students, who have been given 60 days to find alternative courses or be forcibly removed from the UK, were all enrolled at London Metropolitan University, which was dramatically stripped of its right to teach all non-European Union foreign students after the Border Agency said it was failing to comply with visa rules.
Stranded students said they were being treated unfairly after being given permission to come to the UK to study and paying tens of thousands of pounds in fees and costs for the chance to do so. The Government has moved to set up a task force of business and education bodies to identify genuine students and try to help them enroll elsewhere. But London Metropolitan University may still face mass legal action from aggrieved students seeking refunds in the tens of millions of pounds, lawyers have warned.
Concerns were also raised that the Government’s determination to crack down on immigration could impact on the finances of other universities reliant on the higher fees paid by foreign students to balance their books