AN INTERNATIONAL student helpline has been set up at the University of West London in the wake of a UK wide investigation into foreign visa fraud.
The probe, announced on Tuesday last week, followed a BBC Panorama investigation that took place earlier this year.
Evidence of 'serious concern' was uncovered at some campuses, and the government has downgraded Glyndwr University in north-east Wales from its status as a 'highly-trusted sponsor' of student visas.
In addition, 57 private further education colleges have also had their licences for admitting foreign students suspended. The, University of West London , which has campuses in Ealing and Brentford, is currently not allowed to sponsor foreign students pending further investigations, which will decide whether they too should be suspended.
University of West London, Vice-Chancellor Peter John said: "The University of West London’s Highly Trusted Status licence has not been suspended. However, our Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (C.A.S.) allocation has been reduced to zero, pending an external audit by UK Visa and Immigration (UK VI) this week.
"The University has set up an International Student Helpline to assist prospective and continuing non-EU international students who have questions relating to their Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) or visas. The University’s licence to recruit has not been suspended.
"The University takes very seriously its obligations as a highly trusted sponsor. We believe the University is meeting these obligations in full and operates robust processes in doing so, though we await confirmation from UKVI. We welcome the opportunity to work with the UKVI in scrutinising these processes, and will act immediately to implement any suggested improvements."
Immigration Minister James Brokenshire told the Commons last week that an inquiry into abuse of the student visa system had found evidence of criminal activity.
He said: "It is likely that the true totals will be higher. Since the start of February immigration enforcement officers, with the support of the National Crime Agency, together with officials from UK Visas and Immigration, have been conducting a detailed and wide-ranging investigation into actions by organised criminals to falsify English language tests for student visa applicants.
"They've also investigated a number of colleges and universities for their failure to ensure that their students meet the criteria set out in immigration rules."
The International Student Helpline is: +44 (0)20 8231 2020. The helpline is now live and will be open 8am to 7pm, Monday - Friday.