On 1 September 2015 one of the UK's largest private colleges had its Tier 2 licence to sponsor overseas workers and Tier 4 licence to sponsor students from outside the EEA suspended. The London School of Business and Finance [LSBF], which forms part of an umbrella group that now owns the University of Law, is currently prohibited from sponsoring new students or workers from outside of the European Union.
The LSBF, which is part of Global University Systems [GUS] an international network of higher-education institutions has been flourishing thanks to policies of the former coalition government. Since 2010 Students at such private colleges can receive funding from the Student Loans Company to attend courses. On 1 September 2015 LSBF was given 20 days to appeal its sponsorship licence suspension.
The college is the third largest private college recipient of funding via the publicly funded Student Loans Company. Students from within the UK and across the EU attending LSBF received a total of £56 million in funding from the Student Loans Company in 2013-14.
St Patrick's College licences also suspended
The LSBF is not the only institution that is part of the GUS that has had problems with its Tier 2 and Tier 4 Sponsorship Licences. The sponsorship licences of St Patrick's College were revoked earlier in the year.
UK Visas and Immigration [UKVI] that is the Home Office department that deals with UK immigration confirmed that LSBF's sponsor licence was removed from the Tier 2 and Tier 4 sponsor registers on September 1, preventing the institution from recruiting new students and workers from outside of the EEA.
A statement from UKVI, said: "Students and workers currently sponsored by the institution can continue with their studies or employment until the outcome of a Home Office investigation."
LSBF Tier 2 and Tier 4 sponsorship licences suspended a second time
It's not the first time that the LSBF has had its Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence suspended. In 2014, the institution was one of 57 private colleges who had their sponsorship licences suspended. However, the LSBF's licence was reinstated, only for it to be suspended again.
A spokesperson for the LSBF, said: "The decision of the UKVI to temporarily remove the LSBF from the registered list of sponsors is regrettable. Having received and evaluated the data provided by the UKVI, which outlines visa refusal rates and course completion rates and led them to the decision to suspend the licence, the LSBF is 100 per cent confident that it's complying with its sponsorship duties."
Sponsorship Licence Reinstatement expected
The spokesperson added that the LSBF expects to have its licence reinstated as soon as the UKVI have received information correcting errors in the UKVI's initial review of the institution. Existing students and their studies are not affected by the UKVI's decision, allowing them to continue as usual, the spokesperson added.
A Home Office representative said: "Businesses and educational institutions benefitting from the UK immigration system need to have robust recruitment and compliance processes in place or risk the loss of their sponsorship licence. All sponsors on the register will be continually monitored and action will be taken against those not fulfilling their sponsorship obligations."
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