On Wednesday night the news broke at 10pm: the UK Border Agency confirmed the revocation of London Metropolitan University’s ‘highly trusted sponsor’ status. This means that London Met is no longer able bring in non-EU students into the UK to study under the ‘Tier 4’ visa scheme.
In fact, the move is more draconian in that such students currently studying at London Met will have their visas withdrawn: at least 2000 face deportation within 60 days of official notification, unless they can find another sponsor. Effectively they must find a place on another course at another institution.
By what extent is this disastrous episode a symptom of wider political and administrative failures? Last year’s HE white paper made it clear that the government was no longer prepared to act as the backer of last resort, perhaps making London Met’s situation even more precarious.