The university’s application to renew its Highly Trusted Sponsor status, submitted in October 2014, was refused after it exceeded the accepted visa refusal rate by 1.16%, or three students.
The university now has 20 days to appeal the decision.
“Our Senior Management Team will be cooperating fully with UKVI”
“We are continually working, as are all other UK universities, to improve our systems and processes in order to meet a challenging set of sponsorship rules and our senior management team will be cooperating fully with UKVI,” Vice Chancellor Rebecca Bunting said in a statement.
The Home Office has released guidance for international students either studying or due to study at the university confirming that current students will not be affected.
It also informs students who have received a CAS and are in the process of applying for a visa, or who have an outstanding application to extend their leave to remain in the UK, that their applications have been put on hold until the suspension has been resolved.
Students who have a visa but have not yet travelled to the UK are “strongly advised” not to travel until the suspension has been lifted, it adds.
The application to renew HTS status was made before the new 10% threshold, announced in July 2014, came into force in November.
The lowered rate has been heavily criticised by some industry stakeholders.
“We have grave concerns about the Home Office’s reliance on the visa refusal rate as the principal judgement on an institution’s track record,” commented Alex Proudfoot, Chief Executive of Study UK.
“It is inherently biased against smaller institutions such as FE colleges and independent providers, who find it very difficult to protect their licence against factors outside of their control.
“This unsatisfactory situation is only exacerbated by the lower 10% threshold now on place.”
Correction: this article originally stated that the applicable visa threshold 10% and has been amended to reflect the rate at the time of 20%.