THE Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont will work with Cardonald College Glasgow to ensure dialogue with the UK Border Agency after the college had its non-EU students licence revoked.
By Stuart Findlay
A GROUP of 41 International students at the college face an uncertain future after its highly trusted status licence was taken away for failing to meet three of the six mandatory requirements.
Lamont, MSP for Glasgow Pollok, said: “This development is clearly of great concern to the college and the students who will be impacted by this and I will be writing to the UK Border Agency to determine how we can resolve this.
“One of Cardonald College’s major strengths is its diverse mix of students and I will be working with the college and the students to ensure that this is not impacted by the decision.”
Non-EU students at the college could be faced with just 60 days to find a new college with highly trusted status, or be forced to leave the UK.
Anniesland and Stow colleges in Glasgow have also failed to have their highly trusted status renewed.
Samuel Akintunde Folorunso, who is from Nigeria and studies administration, and IT at Cardonald College Glasgow is one of the students at the college who could be affected.
Folorunso, the black students’ officer on the college’s student council, has conditional offers from two universities in England that hinge on him being able to complete his studies this year.
The 25 year old has not yet told his family back home of the developments for fear of alarming them. He said: “It is a big worry. If I tell my family there is going to be a problem they would be destabilised, so I will wait to call them.
“I would like it all to be resolved to make sure that I finish my work here, because worrying about what is going to happen is a massive distraction to my studies.”
Glasgow Caledonian University had its licence removed by the UK Border Agency (UKBA) last year after an inspection indicated that 150 Filipino nursing students had been working almost full-time hours while studying. Its licence was restored after the university was able to address the UKBA’s concerns about abuse of the immigration system.
There is no official appeal process through the UKBA, but the college are hopeful of overturning the decision with the help of politicians and Scottish education bodies. Any decision would ultimately rest with the Westminster parliament, as immigration is not a devolved issue in Scotland.
It is believed that the college failed to secure a licence renewal due to falling below the rates required for enrolment, visa refusal and course completion, which they will argue are circumstances that are not within the college’s control.
John Spencer, convener of Scotland’s Colleges’, said: “Objectively, it is easy to understand why these rules exist, but it is nonetheless the case that they end up discriminating against colleges in Scotland because it doesn’t reflect their situation.
“The loss of highly trusted status damages the reputation and prospects of the institution in attracting students to study with them. The changes being for April could see Scottish colleges unable to recruit internationally because they have fallen foul of the rules through circumstances beyond their control.”
Stefani Millar, president of the Cardonald College Glasgow students’ association, said: “The situation our international students face is awful.
“I am pleased that Johann Lamont realises how important international students are and is willing to show her support for the college and our students.”
Senior management of Cardonald College Glasgow were unable to comment at the time of publication.