The UKBA have announced that London Metropolitan University’s PBS visa licence has been revoked.
It was originally suspended and the University issued with an Action Plan to remedy the problems, however it now appears that London Metropolitan University failed a second audit.
The UK Border Agency said it had “failed to address serious and systemic failings” identified six months ago.
The cost of the failure will run into millions. The University currently charges £13,000 for overseas students and estimates a loss of £30 million.
As well as stopping the university, which has 30,000 students in total, from accepting new applications, losing the licence could also affect thousands of existing overseas students at the university.
A statement posted on the university’s website on Wednesday read: “The implications of the revocation are hugely significant and far-reaching, and the university has already started to deal with these.
“It will be working very closely with the UKBA, Higher Education Funding Council for England, the NUS and its own students’ union.
“Our absolute priority is to our students, both current and prospective, and the University will meet all its obligations to them.”
Although there have been other suspensions, no other UK university has been fully stripped of its ability to recruit overseas students.
NUS president Liam Burns said: “This decision will create panic and potential heartbreak for students not just at London Met but also all around the country.
”Politicians need to realise that a continued attitude of suspicion towards international students could endanger the continuation of higher education as a successful export industry.
”This heavy-handed decision makes no sense for students, no sense for institutions and no sense for the country. This situation and the botched process by which the decision was arrived at could be avoided if international students were not included in statistics of permanent migrants.”
Universities Minister David Willetts has announced a task force to help overseas students affected by the decision.
He said: “It is important that genuine students who are affected through no fault of their own are offered prompt advice and help, including, if necessary, with finding other institutions at which to finish their studies.
A UKBA spokesman said: “London Metropolitan University’s licence to sponsor non-EU students has been revoked after it failed to address serious and systemic failings that were identified by the UK Border Agency six months ago.
”We have been working with them since then, but the latest audit revealed problems with 61% of files randomly sampled. Allowing London Metropolitan University to continue to sponsor and teach international students was not an option.
“We are doing everything possible, working with Universities UK, to assist genuine students that have been affected.”