London Metropolitan University has announced it is to commence urgent legal action against UKBA's decision to revoke its licence to sponsor international students.

The institution said it was making the move so that its students can return to study "as a matter of urgency".

The Government revoked London Met's highly trusted status for sponsoring international students last week after it found more than a quarter of a sample of its students did not have permission to stay in the country.

The university's statement said: "London Metropolitan University has tonight instructed its lawyers Penningtons Solicitors LLP to commence urgent legal action to challenge the revocation of its highly trusted status for sponsoring international students, so that its students can return to study as a matter of urgency.

"Following the leak of the UK Border agency's decision eight days ago which 'announced' the revocation, the university has now had the opportunity to read the report."

Up to 2,600 foreign students have been affected by UKBA's decision, and have until December 1 to find an alternative course or arrange to leave the UK.

The move to revoke London Met of its licence could result up to a £30 million annual loss to the institution, it said. The institution said it will announce more details of the legal action later this week.

But it said that there was "no evidence of systemic failings" at the university, and that the evidence it had given to UKBA shows that it was taking every reasonable measure to be compliant with their rules.

London Met also said it had been conducting checks on its international students, specifically in relation to English language and their educational ability and to check that they are legally entitled to do study at the institution.

A UK Border Agency spokeswoman said: "The revocation of London Metropolitan University's sponsor licence was the correct course of action and we will strongly contest any legal challenge."