London Met wins trusted sponsor licence background

09 Apr 2013 | Posted by Carl Thomas

The London Metropolitan University has won back its status as a highly trusted sponsor from the UK immigration authorities.

The university had its status removed last year amid concerns that it was failing to ensure that the right checks were carried out on students taking its courses. A total of 26 students were reportedly studying at the university without leave to remain.

UK Border Agency (UKBA) officials found the 26 individuals after assessing a sample of 101 cases from the university and decided to revoke London Met's Tier 4 highly trusted sponsor status. The decision caused upheaval for other students at the university who were forced to reassess their future education in the country.

There will now be a 12-month probation period to ensure that the university builds up a track record of compliance with UKBA's rules. This will see a restriction imposed on the number of students it is able to recruit from abroad limited, while those that do come to the UK will be more closely monitored than usual.

Professor Malcolm Gillies, vice-chancellor at the London Met, welcomed the reinstatement of the status. He told the BBC: "London Met has a long history of providing education to international students and we can now continue this long-term commitment to offer them quality education.

"Students can have total confidence that our processes are stronger than ever. I take this opportunity to thank all staff and students and, in particular, international students for their patience and support over the last nine months."

The decision to reinstate the licence came after the Home Office carried out a number of inspections over the course of six months. It found that the university had made the required improvements to ensure that it is monitoring students from abroad more effectively, noting that it now meets the requirements to sponsor international students once again.