Visa delays leave Indian students stranded in UK

Several international students including some from India have been stranded in the UK without passports and are unable to get home for Christmas after the UK Border Agency asked them to reapply for their visas.

According to a report in The Guardian, London School of Film students from as far afield as the US, India, Russia and Lebanon were asked to hand over their passports to the Border Agency in November so they could be issued with new study permits.

This was following the decision to strip London Metropolitan University of its "higher trusted status" before the start of the academic year.

The Guardian said that London Met, which sponsors the students and issues degrees on behalf of the film school, also has hundreds of international students who are unable to get home due to lengthy delays at the Border Agency, despite being promised a fast-track service.

Education vice-president at London Met, Syed Rumman, said he believed around 600-700 Met Uni students were stuck because UKBA still had their passports.

After a petition by the film students, the office of the London mayor, Boris Johnson, said it had written to the Border Agency to try to expedite the process.

Tara Verma, 24, a second-year MA student from New Delhi, was unsure how she would spend Christmas.

She said she had already missed her best friend's wedding and had to cancel a 700-pound flight to India.

London Met was stripped of its higher trusted status in late August, ending its ability to enrol and teach foreign students.

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