City University wrongly connected with London Met crisis

A translation error by Chinese news agencies has dragged another higher education institution into the London Metropolitan University visa controversy.

September 3, 2012

City University London was wrongly named by China's national state broadcaster as the British university affected by the UK Border Agency's decision to withdraw London Met's student visa licence.

The mistake has also been made in newspapers and magazines, with journalists confused by the similarity of the two universities' names.

Both universities have reminded the media to state they are entirely separate and different universities, though the error could have already caused damage to City's reputation in China.

The decision to revoke London Met's visa licence means about 2,600 students from outside the European Union must find places at other universities or be forced to leave the country.

Minutes from the first meeting of a taskforce, led by the Higher Education Funding Council for England chief executive Sir Alan Langlands, reveals the UKBA has given students extra time to find another university.

Students will have at least until the end of November to find a new place - a month longer than the 60-day window that was first announced.

However, The Sunday Times has reported that up to 500 foreign students will be told to leave the country immediately because the UKBA believes they are living in the UK illegally.

The agency believes it will need to deport between five to 20 per cent of London Met's non-EU students, a source told the paper.

"They either have lapsed student visas, the wrong type of visas that don't allow them to study here, or are studying without any visa," the source said.

"Some will be raided, detained and removed, others will be firmly asked to leave or risk being thrown out."

The impact of the visa decision could also affect British students at London Met, according to Malcolm Gillies, vice-chancellor at the institution.

With many international students on some of its courses, some subjects may no longer be viable.

He told The Sunday Times that the university needed "to look at what [the loss of foreign students] means for those areas where there are relatively small numbers of British or European Union students".

London Met's board of governors are due to meet later today to discuss the consequences of the ban on teaching non-EU students. An emergency joint meeting by Unison and the University and College Union will also take place today.

jack.grove@tsleducation.com

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