Yet more Tier 4 guidance…

It has been a full three months since the last time the Tier 4 Sponsor guidance was changed so it seemed like high time for a new version to be published. The Home Office has not left us disappointed, publishing a new version of the guidance to come into force on 1 July 2014.

 

 

The main changes are:

  • Where there are compliance issues with students sponsored either at the head office or the branch, the UKVI will take action which can include revocation of the sponsor licence. This is reiterated for sites, e.g. different campuses, that are not branches.
  • The guidance encourages sponsors to consult and engage with the Home Office before entering into a partnership whereby the partner is named on the institution’s sponsor licence.
  • Sponsors should ensure that partner premises are inspected by an educational oversight body such as the QAA. The guidance also emphasizes that the institution is fully responsible for students to whom  they assign a CAS for study at a partner institution. Any compliance issues with the partner will result in action against the institution as well.
  • The UKVI have introduced transitional arrangements to cover students who had an English language test administered by ETS. The test will be recognised as an approved test if the student made the application for:
    • leave to remain before 1 July 2014;
    • entry clearance before 22 July 2014;
    • entry clearance before 1 October 2014:
      • where the sponsor is a recognised body or in receipt of HEFCE funds; and
      • the course is pre-sessional, a foundation degree or foundation course.
  • Sponsors must take all reasonable steps to ensure that they are satisfied through their assessment that the applicant meets the language requirements- the guidance suggests that sponsor are encouraged to consider interviewing  students.
  • The factors to be considered when deciding the CAS limit in the first year of sponsorship has been extended to include factors such as the student-teacher ratio and the length of time the institution has been operating.
  • Before assigning a CAS, the sponsor should be satisfied (amongst other things that are not new) that the student is aware of their responsibility to abide by the conditions of their visa “including the obligation to study at the sponsor institution (unless at a partner institution) and their working restrictions.”
  • The list of circumstances when the UKVI will consider revocation now includes where:
    • The sponsor fails to comply with reasonable requests to co-operate with the UKVI
    • The UKVI finds that there are compliance issues with the sponsored students either at the main premises or at any sites, branches or partners named on the institution’s licence.
    • The UKVI finds that there are compliance issues with any sites, branches or partners named on the institution’s licence (including if the UKVI revoke the partner’s own licence).

The changes mean that universities should ensure that they thoroughly monitor partner and branch compliance to prevent possible action taken by the UKVI.

Eloise Di Pasqua
Paralegal
Education Team
For and on behalf of SGH Martineau LLP
DD: 0800 763 1377
International DD: +44 800 763 1377

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