The existence of the post highlights the extent to which colleges (and indeed employers) are now expected to act as an arm of the Government's immigration authorities, carrying out checks on students and workers that were previously the responsibility of immigration officers. The consequences of being judged as not implementing policies properly have been spelt out at London Metropolitan University in the last week, with its 'Trusted Sponsor' status withdrawn, and thousands of international students there being told they can't complete courses.
Des Freedman of Goldsmiths lecturers' union UCU has criticised the action:
'The UK Border Agency’s decision to revoke the licence of London Metropolitan University to recruit and teach international students marks the latest stage of the government’s assault on higher education. Some 2,700 students from non-EEA countries now face deportation for the crime of having chosen to study at a popular and multicultural institution, widely respected for its widening participation profile. This applies both to those on their way to London to start their degrees as well as those in their final year of study, perhaps only a dissertation away from a degree.
The UKBA claims that it has identified ‘serious and systemic failings’ concerning the University’s monitoring of language qualifications, immigration status and attendance and that, despite several warnings, London Met has failed to deal adequately with the problems. Yet, from what we can gather, the numbers involved are tiny and involve only a very small minority of international students. If there are serious problems with checks, why should thousands of innocent students be penalised for the failure of the institution fully to carry out its responsibilities? (read full article here).
You can sign the petition calling for an amnesty here:
An 'Amnesty for London Met Students' protest has been called for this Wednesday, 1 pm at the Home Office, Marsham Street, SW1P