Four international students at Newark’s world-renowned violin-making school who were facing deportation can stay in the UK to complete their courses.
Lingtzu Chen, 31, and Meng-Hsiu Tsai, from Taiwan, Australian Daniel Chick, and Yasuhiro Nakashima, from Japan, who are students at the Newark School of Violin-Making and Repair, were due to be deported after July 31 because their international visas had been cancelled by the Home Office.
But yesterday the UK Visas and Immigration Service confirmed the students could stay in the UK and complete their studies at the school, which is part of the Lincoln College Group (LCG).
The students were set to be deported because LCG lost its Tier Four Status, which enabled it to sponsor its international student visas, after being rated as requires improvement by Ofsted.
The students were affected because the college diploma from the violin-making school did not have wider educational recognition from Ofsted, despite the violin-making school being regarded around the world as a benchmark of professional quality.
The climbdown followed pressure from the Advertiser, students and Newark MP Mr Robert Jenrick, who had many meetings with immigration minister Mr Brandon Lewis to resolve the issue.
A petition urging the Home Office not to deport the students gained more than 2,300 signatures in four days.
Lingtzu said: “I am really happy to hear this good news. I hope it is the final decision.”
She said the outcome was down to her campaigning efforts and those of her classmates — and she said she was grateful for the assistance of all who helped, including Mr Jenrick and the Advertiser.
In an email to the college, the UK Visas and Immigration Service said it decided curtailing the students’ leave (to remain in the UK) was no longer appropriate and they could complete their course.
'This is great news for the students involved'
The service said it made the decision on an exceptional basis due to the students’ specific circumstances.
The college told the students yesterday afternoon that they would be staying in the UK.
The petition in support of the students — Don’t Deport the Newark Four — was set up on campaign website 38 Degrees by amateur instrument-maker Anna Langley, of Cambridge.
Lincoln College spokesman Mr James Newall said: “This is great news for the students involved and we are grateful for Mr Jenrick’s lobbying on their behalf.
“We are focusing on developing the school to ensure its continued success.
“We have just signed a five-year extension to the lease on the school’s current premises and we are confident that an Ofsted good grade at our next inspection will enable us to work with the UK Visas and Immigration Service to regain our Tier Four status.”
Mr Jenrick said: “Brandon shared my concern and appreciated that the international reputation of the school could be badly hit by moving the current students home — and not being able to take any new ones for the foreseeable future.”
Mr Jenrick said the Home Office rules were flexible and provided for exceptional cases, such as the one that faced the students of the violin school.