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College Rightly Stripped of Overseas Students Licence

A college teaching accountancy and management skills which was stripped of its licence to sponsor overseas students entering the United Kingdom after investigations revealed a number of ‘deficiencies’ in its record-keeping and other practices has failed to convince the High Court that it was unfairly treated.

Building 22The college mounted a judicial review challenge after its licence to sponsor students from outside the European economic area was first suspended, then revoked, following compliance visits by officials from the United Kingdom Border Agency (UKBA). Areas of complaint identified by the investigators included a failure to report students who did not promptly enrol on courses, poor record-keeping and a failure to effectively assess students’ English speaking ability.

Lawyers representing the college argued that it had acted promptly to remedy any failings in its procedures and that UKBA had irrationally and unfairly taken into account a statement from a disgruntled former employee who had alleged that ‘class attendance registers were routinely falsified’ so that students who failed to attend classes were not marked down as absent.

Dismissing the college’s case, however, the court found that there was ‘no procedural irregularity in relation to the use of the information disclosed’ by the former employee and that UKBA was entitled on the evidence to conclude that the college had not been properly monitoring its students’ attendance. The college had been given fair opportunities to put its case and the revocation of its licence was in line with published Home Office guidance and policy.