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Ed Balls attacks 'disgraceful' treatment of overseas students at London Metropolitan University

11 September 2012

Shadow chancellor's comments come as TUC set to vote on amnesty for stranded students

UCU today welcomed Ed Balls's condemnation of the 'disgraceful' treatment of overseas students at London Metropolitan University (LMU).

Responding to a question from UCU in a Q&A session at the TUC Congress in Brighton, the shadow chancellor highlighted the important role international students play both for the economy and society and said what the government was doing to overseas students at LMU was disgraceful.

LMU had its licence to teach non-EU students revoked last month by the UK Border Agency. That decision has left over 2,500 foreign students facing deportation if they cannot find a new course at another university.

Delegates at the TUC Congress will tomorrow vote on an emergency motion backing UCU's call for an amnesty for the stranded students and to remove overseas students from immigration statistics.

The union said huge damage was already being done to the UK's international reputation with unfavourable headlines across the globe.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'Ed Balls's words are welcome, but what the thousands of stranded overseas students need to hear is a commitment from the government to an amnesty so they can continue their studies.

'There is already huge damage being done to our international reputation and forcing thousands of fee-paying students out of the country will only exacerbate the problem.

The full emergency motion to be debated at TUC Congress:

Congress notes:

The decision by UK Border Agency to revoke the Tier 4 licence of London Metropolitan University.

The potential deportation of around of 2,500 international students.

The leaking of this story to the Sunday Times during a bank holiday weekend before staff, students or even university management were informed.

Congress believes:

Granting an amnesty will allow London Met non-EU international students to complete their current courses at London Met.

We should welcome international students not only for their great contribution to our economy but also because society benefits from the diversity and multiculturalism that they bring.

Congress resolves to:

Call upon the TUC to support an immediate amnesty for all London Met non-EU international students in order to complete their studies.

Support the call made by UCU, UNISON, NUS, UUK, Public Accounts Committee and Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee, that international students are removed from immigration statistics as permanent migrants.

Call upon affiliated unions to encourage members to sign the Number 10 e-petition.

Last updated: 11 December 2015