A hammer to crack a nut…

The United Kingdom Border Agency (UKBA) has decreed that London Metropolitan University (LMU) has forfeited it’s right to sponsor foreign students. By foreign, it means non-EU students. Precisely the sort that LMU prefer, as their fees are far higher – even after the home students’ increase – than everyone else’s.

This is bizarre, misapplied jingoistic policy at it’s worst. Sure, there may be students who don’t have the right to stay in the UK; they may have out stayed their Visa, or be working – or never have studied in the first place. Find them, and deport them, but don’t stigmatise 2000 students whose sole crime is not being European.

The University should be sanctioned, fined, license restrictions imposed…but don’t penalise the students, some of whom may have bankrupted their families to send them to what they, wrongly, thought was a prestigious English establishment dedicated to truth, knowledge and the pursuit of self betterment. The reputation of the UK University sector overseas may not recover from this act. Education is a very fast moving market, and an English one is not necessarily seen as gilt edged anymore – even if it still fares well by international comparison. In such a responsive sector, Government action should be there to facilitate and support, not undermine and jeopardise.


Author: Damian Merciar

Damian Merciar is Managing Director of Merciar Business Consulting, http://www.merciar.com, a niche business economics consultancy founded in 1998. He has over twenty years experience in the areas of commercial Business Strategy. He is experienced in the transition environments of nationalized to private sector state utilities and the senior practice of commercial management, advisorial consultancy, and implementation. He has carried out policy advisory work for government ministries and been an adviser to institutional bodies proposing changes to government. He holds an MSc Economics from the University of Surrey’s leading Economics department and an MBA from the University of Kent. Also attending the leading University in the Middle East, studying International Relations and Language, for which he won a competitive international scholarship, and has a BA (Hons) in Economic History and Political Economy from the University of Portsmouth. He is currently based in London.

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