More than 200 Saudi students in the UK are threatened to be expelled from their universities and deportation following a recent decision by British authorities to strip a number of foreign students of their visas.
The UK Border Agency issued a decree cancelling the license that allows London Metropolitan University to give residency permits to its international students. This meant cancelling the visas of more than 3,000 foreign students, among them more than 200 from Saudi Arabia.
The decree is the first of its kind in the history British educational institutions and in Britain in general.
This decree is not only bound to affect the students of London Metropolitan University only, but also the whole bulk of international students in the UK, the deputy head of the Students ‘Union at the London Met said.
“A protest was staged in 10 Downing Street to call upon the British government to revoke the decree and more protests are expected to take in coordination of with the National Union of Students in the UK,” he said.
The decree, he explained, will harm a large number of students from the Middle East especially Saudi Arabia and Iraq.
“The future of these students has become uncertain now that this decree is passed,” he added.
According to Faisal Aba al-Khail, the cultural attaché at the Saudi embassy in London, there are 17,000 Saudi students in Britain who are financially sponsored by the Saudi government.
“This is an addition to the thousands of students who are studying in the UK at their own expense,” he said.
Aba al-Khail added that the embassy formed a special committee to follow up on the situation of the Saudi students in London Metropolitan.
“We have also started contacting another 10 universities to secure alternative places for our students and we are working on it on a case by case basis to see which solution is better for each student,” Khail said.
Saudi students pay more than $600 million in yearly tuition fees to British universities, in addition to other expenses like tourism and daily purchases. This denotes their role in boosting the British economy and renders them an important source of liquidity for educational institution s in the UK.