Friday, 31 August 2012

Emergency at London Met - please sign the petition

You might have heard press reports about London Metropolitan University, whose Highly Trusted Status for sponsoring international students has been revoked by the UK Border Agency, which means that they are no longer allowed to authorise visas for international students from outside the EU. Worse still, around 2,700 international students are at risk of deportation, despite the fact that they came to the UK to study on visas which they believed to be completely in order.

Sign the petition here for an amnesty for London Metropolitan international students so that they may stay in the UK and complete their studies. Please circulate this as much as possible - it is appalllingly unfair that students who came to the UK in good faith should be penalised for the failure of London Met's management to ensure that the correct immigration procedures were being followed.

You can read more about the failure of London Met's management to deal with this crisis on the London Met Unison branch's website. (Senate House Unison members may remember that London Met Unison's chair Max Watson came to speak to the branch about the pay dispute last month.) Andrew McGettigan goes into more detail on his blog, discussing the way that this will affect the privatisation agenda being pushed by London Met's VC Malcolm Gillies.

Unison have also issued a press release criticising London Met's management for their over-reliance on privatised and outsouced services:
UNISON blamed the problem on London Met’s over-reliance on creating partnerships with private providers – some of which broke the rules regarding overseas students. The union is warning that this is the shape of things to come, as increasing numbers of private companies get involved in the higher education sector. 
The TUC Touchstone blog discusses the wider implications for HE in the UK, where overseas students who pay higher fees than UK or EU students are incresingly important for our sector:
...the students totally complied with the law and were hard working committed students... faced with such information would you be less likely to opt for a UK University? Or do you go to a university in another English speaking country or indeed to one of many European universities increasingly offering degrees via the English language?
Senate House Unison branch sends its solidarity to London Met branch, who in addition to this latest crisis are fighting one of the most aggressive attempts to privatise university services anywhere in the UK.

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