LSBF licence to sponsor overseas students suspended

UKVI takes action against one of England’s largest private colleges

September 3, 2015

The government has suspended the visa sponsor licence of the London School of Business and Finance, part of an umbrella group that now owns the University of Law.

The move means that LSBF cannot sponsor any new non-European Union students or workers. The college has 20 working days to appeal.

LSBF, part of Global University Systems, has grown rapidly since the coalition government began allowing private colleges to expand in 2010, and it is now the country’s third biggest private provider in terms of public-backed funding. Home and EU students at LSBF claimed £56 million in Student Loans Company funding in 2013-14.

Another GUS institution, St Patrick’s College, had its visa licence revoked earlier this year.

In June, the University of Law was sold to GUS.

UK Visas and Immigration said in a statement that the sponsor licence held by LSBF “was removed from the Tier 4 and Tier 2 sponsor registers”, for recruiting students and workers respectively, on 1 September.

“Existing sponsored students and workers may continue with their studies or employment until a final decision on the status of the licence is made by the Home Office,” the UKVI statement said.

Last year, LSBF was one of 57 private colleges to have their visa licences suspended. But the institution later had its licence reinstated.

An LSBF spokesman said: “We regret UKVI’s decision to temporarily remove LSBF from the register of sponsors. It is tantamount to a temporary suspension. Having received and reviewed the data supplied by UKVI, which relates to visa refusal and course completion rates and which led them to their decision, we are confident that LSBF is 100 per cent compliant with its sponsor obligations.”

The spokesman said the college expected that once UKVI received “representations correcting errors in UKVI’s initial assessment,‎ LSBF will be reinstated on the register of sponsors”.

He added: “This decision does not impact our current students and their studies, which continue uninterrupted.”

A Home Office spokeswoman said: “Businesses and educational institutions that benefit from the immigration system must ensure they have robust recruitment and compliance systems in place or risk losing their privilege to sponsor workers and students.

“We continually monitor all sponsors on the register and we will take action where we find evidence that a sponsor is not fulfilling all of its duties.”

john.morgan@tesglobal.com

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