Leading article: A real problem, but an overreaction

 

Share
Related Topics

There is no doubt that steps had to be taken to crack down on the number of illegal immigrants signing on for courses at bogus colleges in the UK. Largely through the work of the UK Border Agency, this problem seems all but eradicated, with a number of dubious colleges now closing.

There is also no doubt that London Metropolitan University was very lax at keeping tabs on just exactly who was studying under its jurisdiction. According to the agency, 26 in a sample of 101 students at the university had no valid visa and 142 out of 250 had attendance difficulties. If this is true, and it is denied by the university, London Metropolitan, which also has a poor record in conducting its financial affairs, certainly needed to put its own house in order.

That said, the UK Border Agency appears to have taken a sledgehammer to crack this nut by banning the university from teaching any of its non-EU foreign students. There are 2,600 of them already on courses there – many bona fide students about to start the second or third year of their degrees. As a result of this decision, they now have only 60 days to find an alternative institution to take them or face deportation. This is an appalling message to send around the world to potential students who may be looking to study in the UK – a business which is now worth £12bn annually. It should have been possible to differentiate between those who were real students and those who were not – and allow the former to continue with their studies. If London Metropolitan University needs encouragement to overhaul its bureaucracy, then bar it from taking any new foreign students, but do not deport wholesale hard-working current ones who are of benefit to our higher-education system.

If it is not possible to discriminate at present, then steps must be taken urgently to ensure there is no repeat of this fiasco and the upsetting scenes we have witnessed, as students attempt to find out about their futures and demonstrate outside Downing Street about the way they have been treated.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Network Infrastructure Technical Lead - up to £45k DOE - Surrey

£35000 - £45000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Technical Architect - Surrey - £35k-£45k DOE - Permanent

£35000 - £45000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

ASP.NET Developer - Cheshire - £35k - Permanent

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Senior Infrastructure / Network Engineer (VMware, Windows, LAN/WAN)

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Daily catch-up: Gordon Brown’s finest hour, a letter from Quebec and the problem of anti-politics

John Rentoul
 

i Editor's Letter: The campaigning is over. So now we wait...

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week