London Metropolitan University is home to more than 2,000 Non-EU students (
London Metropolitan University is home to more than 2,000 Non-EU students ( Reuters

More than 2,000 students face deportation from the UK after a London university was stripped of its right to teach foreigners.

London Metropolitan University has had its Highly Trusted Status (HTS), which conveys the right to sponsor international students from outside the EU, revoked by the UK Border Agency (UKBA). It will no longer be allowed to authorise visas.

Thousands of students will need to find a new place to study within 60 days, or be deported.

The UKBA said London Met has failed to rectify a number of issues first raised in February. The university's HTS was suspended in July, over fears that some overseas students did not have accurate documentation.

A UKBA spokesman said: "London Metropolitan University's licence to sponsor non-EU students has been revoked after it failed to address serious and systemic failings that were identified by the UK Border Agency six months ago.

"We have been working with them since then, but the latest audit revealed problems with 61 percent of files randomly sampled. Allowing London Metropolitan University to continue to sponsor and teach international students was not an option.

"We are doing everything possible, working with Universities UK, to assist genuine students that have been affected."

'Far-reaching implications'

In response to the HTS revocation, London Met said its "absolute priority" is to help any students affected by this decision.

A statement of the university read: "The implications of the revocation are hugely significant and far-reaching, and the university has already started to deal with these. It will be working very closely with the UKBA, Higher Education Funding Council for England, the NUS and its own students' union."

Meanwhile the National Union of Students (NUS) has contacted Prime Minister David Cameron and Home Secretary Theresa May to "express anger at the way decisions have been made in recent weeks and to reiterate the potentially catastrophic effects on higher education as a £12.5 billion per year export industry for the UK".

NUS president Liam Burns said: "It is disgusting that international students continue to be used as a political football by politicians who seem either incapable of understanding, or are simply uncaring about the impact of their decisions on individuals, universities and the UK economy.

"This decision will create panic and potential heartbreak for students not just at London Met but also all around the country. Politicians need to realise that a continued attitude of suspicion towards international students could endanger the continuation of higher education as a successful export industry.

"This heavy-handed decision makes no sense for students, no sense for institutions and no sense for the country. This situation and the botched process by which the decision was arrived at could be avoided if international students were not included in statistics of permanent migrants."