Over 60 students and workers marched through north London today, Friday, in defence of international students at London Metropolitan University.
The UK Border Agency (UKBA) revoked London Met’s licence to teach students from outside the European Union (EU) last month. The move threatened to throw around 2,600 students off their courses—and put them at risk of deportation if they couldn’t find alternative courses.
A High Court ruling on Friday of last week granted London Met the right to seek a judicial review into the decision. At first it seemed this would grant a reprieve to all threatened students at London Met.
But the ruling only allows non-EU students to remain for another academic year or until their studies are completed, whichever is shorter. So the 500 or so students who have over a year to go on their courses could face the same scenario next year.
Sean Cleaver is a third year student at London Met. He told Socialist Worker, “Students have been given a long pause, but there’s still a risk that people could be forced to leave. This will be a long campaign.”
Maria is one of those affected by the UKBA decision. “At first I was in such a panic because I didn’t know what I would do,” she said. “But I’m in my third year so I can stay – it’s such a relief. The reason this is happening is all about politics.”
Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn addressed protesters, as did Catherine West, Labour leader of Islington council, and Mick Gilgunn from Islington trades council.
Mark Campbell, chair of the lecturers’ UCU union at London Met, said, “We will continue to fight for a full amnesty for our students.
“This situation has cost the university tens of millions of pounds. We will also fight for compensation from UKBA because we also need to save the university itself.”
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