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University challenges border ruling
London Metropolitan University has vowed to "defend its reputation" after launching legal action against a decision to revoke its licence to sponsor international students.
The institution announced on Monday night that it is challenging evidence gathered by the UK Border Agency (UKBA) so thousands of students left in limbo can return to study "as a matter of urgency".
The Government revoked London Met's highly-trusted status (HTS) for sponsoring international students last week after it found more than a quarter of a sample of students studying at the university did not even have permission to stay in the country.
Immigration minister Damian Green said a "significant proportion" did not have good English and there was no proof that half of those sampled were turning up to lectures.
The university said it would be contesting the decision after reading the UKBA's report in full. London Met said in a statement: "Working with its advisers, the university has conducted a thorough review of UKBA's 'evidence', and in the strongest possible terms challenges the outcome.
"London Met appreciates that as the first UK University to be placed in this position it has a duty to the sector to try and bring an end to the damage arising from UKBA's decision."
The institution said that there was "no evidence of systemic failings" at the university, and that the evidence it had given to UKBA shows it was taking every reasonable measure to be compliant with their rules. The university accused UKBA officers of "ignoring information that was made available to them when they conducted their audit".
Up to 2,600 foreign students have been affected by the decision and have until December 1 to either find an alternative course or arrange to leave the UK. London Met said the move to revoke its HTS could also result in up to a £30 million annual loss to the institution.
The institution accused the UKBA of changing its requirements too frequently in recent years and said the UK's immigration policy was creating confusion across universities and "irrevocable damage" to Britain's education sector.
UKBA said the decision to revoke the university's licence was the correct course of action and that it will "strongly" contest any legal challenge.