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London Met’s International Students Allowed to Study…For Now

Friday saw the latest twist in the saga surrounding London Metropolitan University's international students, as the High Court ruled that its students with full immigration status can continue their studies at the institution.

Less than a month ago, the UK Border Agency stripped the university of its right to act as a visa sponsor for non-EU students. This not only meant that London Met could no longer recruit new international students, but also that the existing students (around 2,000 of them) due to return to their studies this week had to find a different institution.

However, after the university strongly denied any wrongdoing and outcry from prominent figures in British higher education, the High Court has given permission to London Met to challenge the decision. It also ruled that whilst the process of appeal was taking place, new and existing international students who had already been granted visas could begin the new academic year at the university.

The Interests of the Students

At the hearing, London Met's lawyer Richard Gordon argued that it "came down to fairness" and that the UKBA's decision was unlawful. Whilst not totally convinced by this, the judge did rule that the university could make a legal challenge through a judicial review.

A statement from UKBA followed, explaining:

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UK Foreign Student Numbers Double

New figures released by Universities UK show that the number of overseas students coming to study in the UK has more than doubled in the last ten years. Whilst EU student numbers have increased by a third, non-EU students have gone up by a huge 121% since 2000.

The study- Patterns and Trends in UK Higher Education, reveals that there were 280,760 non-EU students and 125,045 EU students studying in the UK last year. Both of these represent huge increases and indeed, the report emphasises that "one of the main trends over the last 10 years has been the success of UK higher education institutions in attracting international students".

However, despite these increases, the figures show that EU students still make up just 5% of the total students in the UK, whilst non-EU students account for just over 11% of the total 2.5 million students taught in the UK each year.

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Latest UK University Changes Explained

The Higher Education system in the UK is in a period of huge change as new government legislation is affecting everything from tuition fees to international visas. To keep you right up to date with how these changes may affect you, here is a summary of the recent developments.

 

International Student Numbers Expected to Double

The number of non-EU international students coming to study in the UK is expected to double in the next four years as universities look to benefit from the extra money they bring in tuition fees.

Some notable examples include Durham University which is planning for a 97% rise in the number of international students between now and 2014-15, and Exeter which expects a 73% rise.

This would continue the current trend which saw the number of non-EU students rise by 7.8%, from 2009 to 2010, with a 27.8% increase in students from China and a 20.4% rise in students from Singapore.

 

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New Visa Regulations Announced

The British Home Secretary Theresa May announced today that the number of non-EU students granted a visa to the UK is going to be cut by up to 80,000 a year.

The announcement is part of the government’s drive to scale down immigration to the UK to just tens of thousands by 2015, and is likely to reduce foreign student visas by as much as 25%. Of the proposal, May told MPs:

“It will protect our world-class institutions. It will stop the abuse that became all too common under Labour and it will restore some sanity to our student visa system."

“Fake Colleges”

However, away from these headline grabbing statistics, what do these new regulations actually mean to your standard student hoping to study in the UK?

Well, the proposals are basically aimed at stopping people from manipulating the system in order to simply get a UK visa. At the moment the government say there are thousands of non-EU inhabitants every year who get student visas with no intention of actually studying in the UK.

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