London Met: How many non-EU students had to leave?

London Met The BBC has obtained figures for the numbers of international students affected by the revocation of a university's licence to authorise visas last year.

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More than 150 students lost their leave to study in the UK after a university's licence to sponsor non-EU students was revoked, the BBC has learned.

The Home Office says it wrote to 1,604 students, asking their plans, after London Metropolitan University lost its right to authorise visas last year.

The figures were contained in a Home Office response to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request from the BBC.

The university has since had its licence reinstated.

The figures show that of the 1,604 international students originally contacted by the Home Office, 153 were advised to leave the UK or apply for another immigration category.

London Met's licence was revoked in August 2012 after investigations by the UK Border Agency suggested student attendance was not being monitored and many international students had no right to be there.

As a result the university was no longer allowed to authorise visas and hundreds of students were left without courses.

The university challenged the claims, calling them "not particularly cogent".

Reinstated

In April the Home Office said the university had made the necessary improvements to its monitoring of students' attendance and immigration status and reinstated its licence, subject to a 12-month probation period.

In its FOI response, the Home Office confirmed that 927 students were allowed to continue their studies - either at London Met or at its partner institution, London School of Business and Finance.

A further 167 moved to another university with a licence to authorise visas.

The Home Office says it considered curtailing the leave of a further 357 students to remain in the UK but this was not pursued "for reasons such as students returning overseas or switching to another immigration category".

This leaves 153 which the Home Office says "had their leave in the UK curtailed and were advised either to leave the UK or regularise their stay in the UK".

London Metropolitan University has previously described the reinstatement of its licence as good news but declined to comment specifically on the Home Office figures.

Processes 'stronger'

In April vice-chancellor Prof Malcolm Gillies described its processes for international students as "stronger than ever".

The decision to strip the university of its permission to recruit foreign students prompted an outcry from the higher education sector, amid concerns that foreign students would be put off applying for universities in the UK.

It was the first time a UK university had lost its licence in this way.

The UK Border Agency, which made the initial decision to revoke the university's sponsor status, has since been closed and its duties taken over by the Home Office.

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