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LITE College splits due to visa pressures, UK

A London-based Business and English school, the London Institute of Technology and English (LITE), has been restructured after government curbs to student visa issuance pushed it towards insolvency.

UKBA rules caused LITE’s student body to plummet from 1,000 in 2010 to 500 by September 2011

Both the school’s Notting Hill English language branch and Bayswater business school have shut. The English language arm has been taken over by Central London College Ltd and will be run under the LITE brand in a new Aldgate East location.

Meanwhile, LITE’s business courses have been merged into Blake Hall College business school, London, enabling students on longer term degrees and diplomas to continue their courses in the UK.

Niel Pama, former principal of the LITE’s Bayswater branch, told The PIE News: “I didn’t want to leave students in the lurch… While we may have been able to protect the English students through the English UK insurance scheme, the business students would have lost everything.

“By doing this [restructuring], we’ve guaranteed their future, so they can carry on and complete their courses. That was my main priority.”

Pama, who now works for Blake Hall College, blamed the restructuring on the “drastic” UKBA rules introduced last July. These made it harder for private providers to recruit international students (given new inspection charges, English language level requirements and because part-time work rights were stripped for students at private colleges).

This caused LITE’s student body to plummet from 1,000 in 2010 to 500 by September 2011.

“Twelve months prior I was expanding… then the bottom of the market dropped out”

Pama said the removal of post-study work rights were particularly to blame, causing the “whole Colombian market to dry up overnight” and affecting major markets India, Nigeria and Thailand. He also blamed the raising of English language requirements from A2 to B1.

“Twelve months prior I was expanding, taking on a new premises in Notting HIll, and then the bottom of the market dropped out,” said Pama, whose experience mirrors a wider trend of insolvencies across the private sector.

LITE in Aldgate will continue to offer English courses for adults including General English, English for Business and examination preparation (IELTS and Cambridge).

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