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Hundreds of Pakistani students face expulsion over London Met visa snag

Published Aug 30, 2012 02:03pm


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London Metropolitan University — File Photo
London Metropolitan University — Photo courtesy Creative commons

LONDON: London Metropolitan University is one of the most popular universities for the prospective students aiming to study in UK from Pakistan. Its popularity amongst the local Pakistani students can be gauged from the fact that it is a regular advertiser in all the leading newspapers of the country and was one of the first international universities to open its regional office in Pakistan.

The British government has stripped London Metropolitan University of its right to sponsor visas for overseas students, leaving thousands of students facing possible deportation.

London Metropolitan University had its Highly Trusted Status — which allowed it to sponsor visas for students from outside the European Union — revoked by the UK Border Agency on Wednesday over alleged failings in its procedures.

The move means current overseas students have 60 days to enrol on a course elsewhere, with more than 2,000 students facing deportation if they fail to find another university, according to the National Union of Students (NUS).

The union warned of “catastrophic” effects on Britain's industry for educating students from overseas, which was estimated last year to be worth GBP14 billion.

Almost 300,000 non-EU foreign students were enrolled in Britain in the 2010-11 academic year.

The university said on its website: “The implications of the revocation are hugely significant and far-reaching... Our ABSOLUTE PRIORITY is to our students, both current and prospective, and the University will meet all its obligations to them.”

Immigration minister Damian Green told BBC radio that after an audit lasting six months, the Border Agency found “a serious systemic failure where it appears that the university doesn't have the capacity to be a proper sponsor”.

He said that a quarter of students there lacked permission to stay in the country, while there was insufficient evidence that students spoke English and no proof that half of those enrolled had been attending lectures.

But he sought to reassure prospective students that “this will not be replicated across the university sector”. The government had formed a task force to assist current students whose visas are set to be revoked, he added.

The NUS labelled the move political, linking it with promised immigration quotas brought in by Prime Minister David Cameron's government.

It said it had contacted Cameron to “express anger at the way decisions have been made in recent weeks and to reiterate the potentially catastrophic effects on higher education... as an export industry”.

A Border Agency spokesman said: “The latest audit revealed problems with 61 per cent of files randomly sampled. Allowing London Metropolitan University to continue to sponsor and teach international students was not an option.

“These are problems with one university, not the whole sector.”

London Metropolitan is in the top 20 British recruiters of international students, with 6,000 EU and non-EU overseas students in 2010-11, according to government figures.

It said it was working closely with bodies including the Border Agency to try to resolve the problems.


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Comments (52) Closed

Zed Aug 30, 2012 08:31pm
Those who break the law and never attend uni would already be working illegally etc, so whether you revoke their visas or not, they are not bothered. Spare a thought for a genuine student who has paid
Zulfiqar Syed Aug 31, 2012 10:06pm
There has to be a comprehensive system to provide some protection to these students, It is advised that the student must consider joint legal action against the university to recover their cost
AK Aug 30, 2012 04:52pm
They cannot be sued, it's part of the student visa, that it can be revoked any time without any condition. All these students can do now is that they must leave the country, and then put petition in court in Pakistan. Which will consult Consulate General of UK Mission. Whole thing will start from there. There is absolutely no way to take them to court in UK. There is no International law governing that. Anywayz, Hardly 10% of these students stay in university, they apply for asylum or start looking for Bride/Groom right away. It never worked too well in the past. Just additional Problems for country.
mike Aug 30, 2012 05:12pm
Saadia is right.....this is UK, bonafide students will definitely get options. Visa abusers need to be deported. I know of Miami Dade College in Florida was pumping I20s in 80s, decades ago.Big scam . Border Agency did a good job
Qz Aug 30, 2012 04:15pm
lol oh i am a Pakistani new paper worried about students from Bangladesh now ....... chillx dude ..... news paper is sold in Pakistan ....... similar to all the Indian channels showing Indian advertisements
Muhammad Liaqat Ali Aug 31, 2012 04:10am
This case is just the tip of the iceberg. There are still so many universities in UK which extend visas to students and never bother about their attendance. While I was in UK I came across numerous students enrolled in bogus Universities and had been in UK for the past 5-6 years without having attended even a single class. Mostly what they did was work in various security companies and grocerry stores for about 50-60 hrs a week and earned thousands of pounds. Some of them even got married to get the nationality. Notwithstanding these Pakistani students have been making significant contributions to UK's economy.
Ali Aug 31, 2012 02:40am
They should give them warning instead of forcing them out. Give them one more year to meet the language & attendance requirement, and then may be enforce or fine & allow them one more year. Others also misuse h1b visa, very few h1b are good, rest are below average
Ahmed Aug 30, 2012 06:58pm
I agree with RK Singh !!!!!!! Dawn shall avoid such head lines
pathanoo Aug 30, 2012 10:31pm
Doctor, Your degree definitely is NOT in law. the Immigration laws are on the books for ever. It is the violation of them that got the students in trouble. Ignorance of the law is no defense, either. I believe the the offending students knew what they were doing and got caught. There is nothing the courts can do for these students legally. However, mercy is another thing.
SSA Aug 30, 2012 03:33pm
Never Never Never relay on these advertisement. The Whole thing is to make money. If you are really interested in learning go to far East
Vikas Aug 30, 2012 09:27pm
Why you guys always drag Indians?
Oziman Aug 31, 2012 11:21am
LOL Indians are so fixated about Pakistan that they come here and post comments
Oziman Aug 31, 2012 11:22am
Oziman Aug 31, 2012 07:43pm
Why are you Indians even on this website?
Oziman Aug 31, 2012 07:52pm
please stop visiting pakistani websites and read your own country newspaper. You wont find any fantasy story predicting destruction of Pak here. Your newspaper do a good job at fantasy so stick to that.
Joseph Provine Aug 31, 2012 12:39pm
Wonder what makes you think, Pakistan does not have that title already.
ahsan Aug 31, 2012 06:42am
Cant utter a word in English, UK university will award you a degree. Failures at home are able to get a degree in UK.
dararao Aug 31, 2012 09:51am
I think its now a habit that we always make bad out of everything even good things. I also live in Germany and the 95% Pakistani people i knew here are genuine students (Many of them are in elite programs meant to develop highly skilled man power and considered very difficult and highly regarded). And here its not very difficult to find a student job while you are studying so studies with part time earning is not very difficult. And almost all of them get good jobs (professional related to their field) after completion of their studies. The guys you are talking about are very few in Germany. And yes you are right not only Germans even Pakistani dont like them. But like they say for clapping you need both hands. So their EU partners (in some cases same illegel Pakistani once) knew exactly what they are going for and these EU partners want to exploit the situation for their own interest.
Ahmed Aug 30, 2012 06:59pm
Dawn please avoid such HEAD LINES , its for every one in University ... UK has a right to put things rights for their own interest
ajk Aug 31, 2012 05:48pm
Hundreds of (almost) illeterte Pakistani students have been going to UK universities to work part-time jobs. In the current economic crisis, they need to return home. Unfortunatelty, the reason for their being in UK to begin with is the 5000-8000 British Pound Sterling that they can gather from here and there. UK immigration and universities have only themself to blame for the current immigration crisis that they are facing. On the flip side, again, it is in the best interest of all the bogus Pakistani students living in UK to return home.
Dr. M Baig Aug 30, 2012 09:22pm
It's become very fashionable for overseas students with no real desire to study, to search out fring establishments in the UK and work illegally. In most cases the priority has been to find a way to immigrate. Can you blame people for doing this when the situation at home is so dire. The truth is there are scant few jobs here as well, pay and living standards are in decline and the Government is closing all loop holes to protect local jobs. Reality is the world is a more difficult place to live in and people need to stop looking for quick fixes and escapism. I hope in the next few years there a turn around for fortunes in Pakistan and people can feel happier and prouder to build their future at home. There are no streams of milk and honey here.
zardusht Aug 30, 2012 09:21pm
There are the backlashes of the support to world terror groups. One step at a time until Pakistan is gains its hard earned title, the "state that sponsors terrorism.
ABlitzer Aug 31, 2012 08:41am
This is a sad development for all foreign students enrolled at the London Metropolitan University. The UK gov't and the BA should give foreign students more time to re-enroll at other schools, as 60 days is an unrealistic time for a student to find, apply, get admitted, sort out funding/financial matters, get housing, etc, at another school. This way the students who are serious of getting a UK education do have a recourse and those who just got admitted to get a UK visa have to find alternative ways to stay in the country or return home.
SSK Aug 30, 2012 04:30pm
Deport them all i say! Would love to see the "effects'' the city will get after deporting all the students! (I have seen far too many students enrolled at UNIVERSITIES only so they can obtain a student visa only to later work at odd jobs. Sad but true.)
K.Anwar Aug 31, 2012 07:39am
Don't blame the students for this (obviously you have never been on the desperate side of life, ignorance of Pakistani elite). It is the visa and immigration department which should ensure adherence. By the way, marriage is a two way road, it is never forced upon, at least not in Germany.
Gary Aug 31, 2012 11:14am
London Met is a fourth grade uni in London.
BRR Aug 31, 2012 05:12am
There are a few shady colleges / universities both in the Uk and US, some of them founded and run by Indians, S.E Asians and Pakistanis, which are not good at providing education but provide VISAS to people who would otherwise never be able to get one. The students who enroll themselves know it is a scam, but do not care, as they just want to enter these countries and get some job. Sad as it seems, it just goes to show that dismal future these students have in their home countries which fails to educate them and to provide jobs.
LailaC Aug 30, 2012 10:33pm
I agree with you, Saadia. Its very normal accepted trend among guys. Many even marry their own family members for permit and then divorce. Some are hiding a mental disorder but found out after marriage as if any justification is halal be it male or female. I know plenty who work without paying any tax and make creditcard fraud. But some are into study and they also seattle down because they dont have families to do the rishta part on their behalf. It's a jungle. survival of the fittest.
mosa master Aug 31, 2012 05:13am
bad.. very bad...
aziahmed63 Aug 30, 2012 09:12pm
I feel very sorry for Pakistani students over there but WAIT........they are only being deported , Think about thousands of Pakistanis being persecuted within Pakistan....Which one is worse, you decide????
adam memon Aug 30, 2012 03:07pm
very sad
Gary Aug 31, 2012 11:13am
they cannot because they are not students at all.
RK Singh Aug 30, 2012 02:17pm
It is not just Pakistani students. It is effecting all foreign students. Dont give scary headlines.
RK Singh Aug 31, 2012 06:30am
these are just male students. Then they re-marry muslim girls from home and call them to germany.
iPak Aug 30, 2012 05:15pm
It's a Pakistani organization so hence Pakistani students are highlighted. If you read carefully it does say hundred's of Pakistani......etc. As you go through the article, it does say more than 2000 foreign students are at risk.
doctor Aug 30, 2012 02:39pm
students should go to court against this instantaneous decision.also students should try to act fast to avoid problems. court will help them
Saadia Aug 30, 2012 02:37pm
I know many guys from Pakistan and India who came to Germany by having admission at university and never attended any lecture. Some of them got married to EU citizens and after having citizenship they divorced them. And then they say Germans don't like them.
Syed Ahmed Aug 30, 2012 04:24pm
Why go to London England for studies when one can achieve better results by studying in Canada, which has three of the top 25 universities in the world. University of Toronto with score 81.6, University of British Colombia 77.4 and Mac Gill University 75.5. Living and tuition cost is 50% less than Britain. Less of red neck, studies and studies alone should be the aim. .
asma Aug 31, 2012 02:40am
Students should ensure they have adequate English language skills before enrolling in overseas educational institutions. Moreover, they should attend classes, all classes.
cancarian88 Aug 30, 2012 03:45pm
If you born there then ask your father or mother or grands. How they got the citizenship.
Muhammad Zaheer Sep 02, 2012 07:52am
I am a past student and MS graduate from London Met having completed my MS in 2005. Feel sorry for the students and their families.
Qz Aug 30, 2012 04:04pm
Its not fair by any means ...... Many of the students there would have invested their parents life time earning ..... If countries like UK starts making decisions like Afghanistan..... then their trust and reliability is lost ..... It should be made sure that students from that University get admission somewhere else and should be given enough time to get everything processed ......
anony Aug 30, 2012 05:47pm
You'd be surprised, but the exact same kind of thing happens here in the US as well.
andygeezer Aug 30, 2012 05:42pm
There are far too many Pakistanis in the uk anyway so it would be good to send some of them home
iykhan125 Aug 30, 2012 06:31pm
DAWN is a Pakistani newspaper and mostly Pakistanis read it. In the article itself, no where does it say that ONLY Pakistani students are being effected. It is a scary news for all foreign students enrolled.
Shams Forough Sep 03, 2012 06:31am
I just enjoy watching the fire your politicians started on your neighbors. Remember, Kabul burned by your fire. Now its Islamabad's term. You are doomed buddy! ________________________________
allaisa Aug 30, 2012 06:52pm
Many can's speak English, many do not attend classes. Are these really serious students or they just went to UK to make money? May be you should correct the headline to read 'Hundreds of Pakistanis face expulsion'!
Nasser Ali Khan Aug 30, 2012 07:50pm
It's typical of Dawn not to present FACTS but twist them to dramatise the incident.
KHURRAM SHAHZAD Aug 30, 2012 07:33pm
the entire british education system and policies since 2005 has done one thing to the current generation,destroyed young people future and career.hundreds married to eu or british nationals(cannot read or write) got british nationalities.Congratulations britain on your new bright nationals!!Enjoy them!!
Waqas Aug 30, 2012 06:17pm
Looks like an immigration scam,
Imran Sep 01, 2012 08:33pm
Whats terrorism got to do with this? Indian students are also affected by this. Get a life
Imran Sep 01, 2012 08:35pm
Why are you here? Did someone drag you here?