Border Agency blamed for student visa 'chaos'

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The Independent Online

The UK Border Agency has been condemned by MPs for causing chaos in the student visa system, allowing 50,000 additional fake or illegitimate students to gain entry to the UK in a single year.

The Public Accounts Committee said it was "extraordinary" for the agency to have introduced new requirements for students to have their visas sponsored by universities in 2009 without ensuring proper controls were in place. Up to 50,000 extra migrants abused the system to come to Britain to work in the same year as a result, said Margaret Hodge, the PAC chairwoman.

Last week, London Metropolitan University was stripped of its licence to bring in students from outside the EU, leaving hundreds of legitimate students facing deportation.

Damian Green, the Immigration minister, said yesterday that UKBA would not begin writing to London Met students to curtail their leave, giving them 60 days to find a place at another university or face deportation, until 1 October.