Glyndwr told to leave London campus as visa licence reinstated

Glyndwr University has been allowed to start recruiting international students again, but must end operations at its London campus

November 24, 2014

The Wrexham-based institution’s highly trusted sponsor status had been suspended since June, when the government raised concerns about “invalid” or “questionable” English language qualifications held by hundreds of its students.

On 24 November the Home Office confirmed that the highly trusted status had been reinstated, but with conditions that include the relinquishing of the lease on Glyndwr’s Elephant and Castle campus next month.

For now, the university will be able to recruit sponsored students only to its Welsh campus, and the number it can enrol will be limited.

The university’s licence will be reviewed again in January 2015.

Glyndwr said it planned to “further develop its activities in London” – including moving to a new site by next July – and to improve its security controls before applying to start offering courses in the capital again.

A statement from the university said staff had worked with UK Visas and Immigration to identify any students involved in visa fraud and to “take the necessary actions”.

“The university is fully committed to continuing its support for a more robust student visa system and in that regard is undertaking a number of changes to its London campus during the coming months, including a locational move,” said Michael Scott, Glyndwr’s vice-chancellor.

“The university will continue to work closely with UKVI, which shared its concerns for students legitimately studying at Glyndwr University, in accordance with legal regulations.”

The loss of Glyndwr’s campus in the capital is a significant blow for an institution that is already facing serious financial difficulties.

The campus contributed £2.35 million to the parent university in 2012-13, according to Glyndwr’s accounts.

Professor Scott said the university’s primary concern was its students, stating that the “majority are hard-working and dedicated” and “should not suffer because of the misdeeds of a few”.

A Home Office spokeswoman said UKVI would continue to work closely with Glyndwr.

“Institutions who benefit from student migration must work with us to prevent abuse – or lose their ability to recruit international students,” she said.

A joint statement from Penny Anderson and Marc Caldecott, the president and vice-president of Glyndwr Student Guild, welcomed reinstatement but said that there were still “serious concerns” about what had happened.

“Thousands of our students were left in an uncertain situation through no fault of their own, and [with] no right of recourse,” the statement said.

“We encourage the government to examine closely a system which puts international students at risk over something they did not create and cannot change.”

chris.havergal@tesglobal.com

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