On Wednesday 5 September approximately 200 students, lecturers and staff from London Metropolitan University (LMU) demonstrated peacefully outside the Home Office and Downing Street in protest over the revocation of the institution's ability to host international students. At the same time, LMU management, Universities UK, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), the UK Border Agency (UKBA), the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), and the National Union of Students (NUS) were meeting to agree on a system to transfer some of the students to other universities. Meanwhile, the University this week has also launched legal action the UKBA’s decision.
With the dispute between the University and the UKBA on-going and the start of the new academic year now upon us, further protest action is likely. Although none are currently planned, such actions could potentially cause disruption with greater numbers than seen this week, as the cause gains publicity and support from other universities who fear that the LMU is the first of many to face the revocation of its license to sponsor international student visas. The situation should therefore be monitored for potential protests outside Downing Street, The Home Office, The High Court, UKBA offices, HEFCE offices and LMU in the coming weeks.