UK visa crackdown prompts student panic

28 Aug 2012 | Posted by Carl Thomas

A crackdown on UK visas has prompted a panic among overseas students as some higher education establishments risk having their sponsorship rights removed.

London Metropolitan University is among the establishments that faces losing its ability to educate people from outside of the European Union. If the government goes ahead with this crackdown, up to 3,000 international students are at risk of losing their right to remain in the country.

Home secretary Theresa May is said to be looking into removing the right for the country to sponsor UK visas for its students amid concern that it is granting sponsorship to individuals who go on to break the terms of their visa.

However, the university's vice chancellor Malcolm Gillies strongly denied the insinuation that the government is a 'threat to immigration control', warning that the decision to remove its sponsorship rights could have a negative impact on the UK's reputation overseas.

He told the Evening Standard: "I believe the university has taken a very responsible stand over the last year to have its files in a good shape."

Meanwhile, students at the Met who have spent thousands of pounds for the chance to study in the UK are worried about their future. Adnan Pavel, 22, only has one semester left for his electronic and communications engineering degree but will be unable to complete if he loses his visa. He had planned to return to Bangladesh to visit his parents but cancelled his trip and lost out on the cost of his flight out fear that he would be unable to return.

Mr Pavel told the paper: "Students are panicked, they do not know what to do. Some of my friends studying for PhDs just need to complete their dissertations – which other universities will take them if they just need to complete one semester?"

The government has pledged to cut immigration figures to the "tens of thousands" and its tough approach to students visas is designed to pay a part in this reduction of numbers.