College in raid had won praise

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A YORKSHIRE college raided by immigration officials won praise from an education watchdog less than a year ago.

Ten members of staff at Leeds Professional College were arrested during or after Tuesday’s raid.

The UK Border Agency said it believed the staff were part of an organised crime group involved in “systematic breaches” of immigration law via the college.

Last night, however, it emerged that the college recently came through a review by the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) for Higher Education.

A report issued in April said the QAA had confidence in how the Hunslet-based college was managing its “stated responsibilities”.

The report also said reliance could be placed on the “accuracy and completeness” of information published by the college.

Yesterday a message trumpeting the outcome of the review remained on the college’s website.

Asked about the review findings, the QAA said immigration issues were not its responsibility.

QAA chief executive Anthony McClaran said: “A QAA review team visited Leeds Professional College and gave a positive judgment on the way [it] manages its academic standards and the quality of teaching and learning opportunities.”

The Border Agency has said the college is suspected of charging people – mainly from Pakistan – thousands of pounds for admission into the UK on student visas.

It is claimed students then fail to attend classes and instead find work illegally. Just two of the 138 students who should have been in class were present when Tuesday’s raid took place.

The QAA is an independent body but is partly financed by the Government’s Higher Education Funding Council.