Sunday, 2 September 2012

London Met Uni petition re potential expulsion of students from UK

This is a message from Steve Cushion , Secretary of the UCU retired members' branch but the cause it describes should be of concern to all trades unionists and supporters of education, please sign the London Met Uni petition (P.Murry Secretary GPTU)

To all members UCU London Retired Members

I'm writing to encourage all UCU retired members to sign an urgent petition to the UK Borders Agency with respect to international students (current and prospective) at London Metropolitan University.

Without warning these students have been told that they are unable to continue at London Metropolitan University, due to management failings in complying with the Government's 'Points Based Immigration System'.

The petition simply calls for an amnesty so that they may complete their studies. The reasoning is that the priorities of the government "taskforce" announced today should aim to put right the problems at LMU, not merely seek to move students around the UK as a consequence of the decision to withdraw the University's sponsorship status.

If there are management failings for which London Met is responsible, it seems wholly counter to elementary natural justice to deport some 2,700 international students - which is the inevitable result if they are unable to find (or accept) university places elsewhere in the UK.

Please sign the petition here, and forward to colleagues -

For background I include below a message from the London Metropolitan University UCU Executive Committee to members sent out today.
Dear All,

By now most of you will know that UKBA have ‘announced’ the decision
to revoke London Met’s right to sponsor international students. As it
stands at present the revocation applies to all current students at
London Met and to all prospective students.

UCU and UNISON have already asked to meet with the Governors and
received a positive response. The governors themselves will be meeting
in emergency session this Monday September 3rd. We expect to meet with
them then.

UCU and UNISON will be holding an emergency joint ALL MEMBERS meeting
in the Tower Building on Monday between 1-2pm. Room details will
follow. A statement from that meeting will go to the governors and to
the press.

To date we still have very limited information as to the basis of the
UKBA decision.  The assertions from Damian Green (Minister for
Immigration) regarding the failings of London Met  reported variously
throughout the media today and arising from BBC interviews this
morning (Radio 4 & 5) provide very little clarity. His statements
appear in support of an UKBA announcement that appeared last night on
their website. The link is provided below.

Unfortunately, as you can test yourselves, the link does not work as
the notice itself has now been withdrawn. We understand that this was
at the request of the university who claimed not to have had time to
respond to the decision.

For information the notice contained very little detail itself, but
did include the following short statement, ‘the latest audit revealed
issues with 61% of the files we randomly tested’. Note that this
statement does NOT state the character of those issues nor do UKBA
indicate here or elsewhere the extent to which they sought to satisfy
themselves about these ‘issues’. So at the moment we have a series of
assertions from a government minister and very little else. This is
all symptomatic of the general obscurity that surrounds the decision
and of the carelessness of UKBA towards international students at
London Met. We are demanding at the very least an amnesty for current
students at London Met whilst we seek to rescind the revocation.

Whilst we are clear about very little, we are now sure that a very
significant factor in UKBA’s interest in London Met is the
university’s recent association with LSBF (London School of Business
and Finance. Part of our demands to the Governors will be that this
connection is severed.

SEPTEMBER 3rd - TOWER BUILDING HOLLOWAY RD (room to be confirmed)

Cliff Snaith UCU London Met Secretary
Mark Campbell UCU London Met Chair

PS. Despite the removal of the statement from UKBA's website, you can
still read it yourself if you want to (courtesy of a screen grab). See
link below.
Steve Cushion

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