London Met international student ban insanity

Perusing the news this morning, I notice that London Metropolitan University has been banned from sponsoring non-EU foreign students because of its rather lax approach to visa enforcement, with 26/101 non-EU foreign students having no valid visa according the UK Border Agency (I also notice I’m a bit behind The Times, as they broke the story on 26th August. Shit, it’s almost September).

Firstly the timing of this, shortly before term starts, is ridiculous. The students that will be affected, legitimate or otherwise, now have a mad rush to find new courses before the academic year starts. Secondly, the general approach is all sorts of wrong. Why on Earth are legitimate, fee-paying students being punished for the failings of their university? Ashiqur Rahman nails it: the Border Agency could easily have banned the university from taking on any international students in the future, and allowed the current crop to finish their courses, thus preventing the massive upset to hundreds of legitimate students and the damage this may cause to UK higher education’s international reputation.

The government is setting up a task force to help deal with affected students, which is all fine and good and hopefully they’ll be able to do some damage limitation, but what a ridiculous waste of effort when the situation could have been avoided entirely by applying the rules with a little leniency and intelligence. Or am I missing something?