Tag Archives: ukba tier 4

Damian Green’s Statement of Changes to the Immigration Points Based System

The Minister of State for Immigration (Damian Green): The Immigration Rules specify that the detail of how certain requirements will be applied will be set out in UK Border Agency guidance rather than in the Immigration Rules themselves. This is essential best practice as it enables the UK Border Agency to have the flexibility it needs to make minor changes whilst staying within the framework set out in the Immigration Rules.

However, on two particular points successful legal challenges have been brought to the extent to which requirements must be set out in the Immigration Rules rather than UK Border Agency guidance. The first is the minimum levels of courses that may be studied under Tier 4 (General). The second is the periods of time that applicants must have held available funds for.

In light of the court judgements I am bringing the detail of these requirements within the Immigration Rules. The requirements themselves are not changing, although in the case of English language courses, I am using this as an opportunity to re-introduce the minimum level for such courses which was in place before the judgement was handed down. By doing this, if the requirements do change in future, those changes will need to be laid before Parliament.

I am also making a further change to the Tier 4 (General) category today to make it a requirement for some students studying below degree level to provide evidence of having passed a UK Border Agency –approved secure English language test at a minimum of B1 level on the Common European Framework of Reference for languages. This change builds on the previous position where the sponsors of such students were required to make their own assessment of the English language level of the student. The use of an independent test is an advance on this as it should help ensure that sponsors are not duped by students offering false or fake documents to prove their English language ability.

It is right that under the points based system, all students now need to apply to the UK Border Agency to vary their leave before being able to change institutions. This is essential so that the UK Border Agency can maintain accurate records of where migrants are studying and check that the institutions to which they wish to move are bona fide and are willing to take on the sponsorship of their new students under Tier 4. Consequently, Tier 4 students are unable to start studying at their new sponsor institution until they have received a positive decision on their

The principle of sponsorship – whereby those who benefit most directly from the contributions migrants make to the United Kingdom (employers and education institutions) are expected to play their part in ensuring the UK’s migration system is not abused – is an integral part of the Points Based System. The new Highly Trusted sponsor licence introduced for Tier 4 sponsors on 6 April 2010 provides a further segmentation of the existing sponsor rating system designed to identify those sponsors who are achieving the highest levels of compliance with their sponsor obligations and whose students are showing the greatest compliance with the terms of their visa or leave. Those holding a Highly Trusted sponsor licence are granted additional freedoms and offered new services to recognise their previous track record of good compliance.

In recognition of the high levels of student compliance among Highly Trusted sponsors; I have agreed an additional freedom for their students which is being introduced by the change to the Immigration Rules for Tier 4 (General) and Tier 4 (Child) students today. The change will allow the students of Highly Trusted sponsors to commence their studies with them before receipt of UKBA’s decision on their application.

In addition, for the avoidance of doubt, I am also making changes today to our general grounds for refusing applicants, (for example on the basis of submitting false documents), to make it absolutely clear that these provisions also apply to applicants who have overstayed their previous permission to be here.

Because of the urgent nature of some of these changes, it has not been possible in respect of some of them to follow the usual convention of laying them before the House for 21 days before they come into force. I regret that this has not been possible in this instance. The changes permitting students to change sponsors where their new sponsor is a Highly Trusted Sponsor and those made following successful legal challenges will come into force tomorrow, on 23 July

Border Agency again raises Minimum English level in spite of High Court Ruling

English UK are understandably “very disappointed” at the UK Border Agencies decision to raise the minimum English level back to B1 for all Tier 4 (General) student visa applicants.

Announced 22 July 2010 and effective from 23 July, all students studying a course below degree level – including English language courses – will have to demonstrate that they are proficient in English near A Level standard or B1 on the CEFR framework. English UK Chief Executive Tony Millns stands by his description of the situation as, “clearly absurd.”

Originally introduced by the previous Labour Government on 3 March 2010, this was overturned by Mr Justice Foskett, a UK High Court Judge, who ordered the UK Border Agency to return the minimum level to A1, allowing English language learners of a basic level to study in the UK.

“We’re very disappointed that the Border Agency has made this change without us having had the chance to meet the new Immigration Minister, Damian Green, and make our case with him,” said Mr Millns.

“A group of MPs who represent constituencies with high concentrations of language schools and myself are due to meet Mr Green on Monday. They are very concerned about the effect of this ruling on the local economy of their constituencies. When Mr Green was in opposition, he too was very supportive of our position and the detrimental effect this rule has on genuine students.”

English UK wins High Court Judicial Review case on English Language Courses under the Points Based Visa System

More than 3,000 jobs and over £600 million a year in foreign earnings have been saved for the UK economy by a High Court judgement on which international students can come to the UK.

English UK has today won its case in the High Court against the last Home Secretary’s decision to raise the level of English which students must have before they can get a UK visa to learn the language here.

On March 3 2010, the level was raised from elementary to intermediate (from A1 to B1 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) for students who wanted to take courses of longer than six months and so needed a General Student Visa. They could no longer study on a course at a lower level than B2, roughly equivalent to A Level. In effect, this meant that they had to have a good standard of English before they could come to the UK to learn it.

The change was not directly put before Parliament, but was made through a paragraph in an appendix to the immigration rules which gave the UK Border Agency (UKBA) the blanket power to specify the minimum academic level of course which students can come to the UK to study on the General Student visa (GSV).

In his written judgement, Mr Justice Foskett said anything which “changed materially” the criteria of entry for overseas students must be done through a change in the rules, and not through a change in the guidance.

He agreed with counsel for English UK that a recent ruling from the Court of Appeal, on another immigration case, also applied to the way the language requirement was changed.

The rationale for the judgment in the Pankina case, Mr Justice Foskett said, was that ‘a provision that reflects a substantive criterion for eligibility for admission or leave to remain must be the subject of a process that involves a true Parliamentary scrutiny’ (his emphasis). The increase in the level of English was not in fact subject to Parliamentary process, but done through a change in administrative guidance.

On this, Mr Justice Foskett said: ‘I do not doubt that the changed approach in the new guidance does operate to change materially the substantive criteria for entry for foreign students who wish to study English in the UK, and…that cannot be achieved by a change in guidance – it must be achieved through the medium of a rule change.’

He went on to conclude that ‘extrinsic guidance cannot be used…to make a material or substantive change in existing immigration policy without the negative resolution procedure set out in section 3 (2) of the 1971 Immigration Act being implemented’.

Tony Millns, Chief Executive of English UK, which represents 440 fully-accredited English language centres, said: “This judgement upholds our basic case that the Home Secretary was wrong to introduce a substantive change in the entry criteria for GSV students without laying that change before Parliament.

“We have asked the court to rule that the English language requirement must now revert to what it was before 3 March, in other words students must be at level A1 to take an English language course at A2. This will give our 440 member centres some immediate help since many of them faced losing a damaging number of students this summer and autumn.”

He added: “We brought this case as a last resort, and will now seek to discuss with UKBA ways in which we can help formulate a more sensible policy which our members can support and which will contribute to immigration control. Genuine colleges have no desire to enrol people who are not genuine students. We are pleased that Mr

Justice Foskett saw the merits of our case and we believe that his decision is good for the UK economy, to which the English language sector contributes about £1.5 billion in foreign earnings each year.”

English UK’s case was led by Nichola Carter of Penningtons Solicitors LLP and Judith Farbey of Doughty Street Chambers. Commenting on the case, Nichola Carter, immigration partner at Penningtons, said: “Creating an immigration system which both denies entry to those with unlawful intentions and allows the UK to retain its reputation for world-class English language teaching is a complex process involving decisions of cultural and economic importance. This ruling confirms that parliament must be included in decisions which will significantly change the immigration system. In the months between the implementation of this unlawful policy and the hearing of this case, English UK continuously offered its assistance in creating a policy which was effective, sensible and lawful, and maintains that offer now.”

This post was submitted by worldenron.

English UK Challenges the UK Government to a Legal Fight

English UK, the body that represents English languages schools in the UK, has mounted a legal challenge, urging the UK Government to scrap new Tier 4 rules introduced by the previous Labour Government.

With fears that the UK economy could lose up to £1.4 billion and the dole queue could grow that little bit longer, English UK have sought a Judicial Review, focused on then-home secretary Alan Johnson’s decision to prevent beginner’s language learners from studying in the UK.

The new tier 4 rules were announced earlier this year and were a direct response to growing public and media angst surrounding illegal immigration. This new Tier 4 rule was announced only days after a terrorist tried to blow up a flight to America on Christmas Day, despite the suspect being a student at a highly reputable UK university. And he was radicalised in the UK, so the new Tier 4 English is both perverse and unjust.

This new Tier 4 rule was introduced at a time of a clampdown on the education system, with deep cuts to University support and the suspension of all visa applications from entire countries and reasons, seriously damaging enrolment figures.

English UK described the unique situation now in place here – where you can’t study the English language in England if you are a beginner – as “an absurdity”. They add that their request for a Judicial Review is also because they claim the former Home Secretary acted unlawfully, as he did not put these new Tier 4 rules before Parliament, as required by the UK’s constitution.

English UK’s concern is valid; as many as 100,000 students will be deterred from coming to the UK to study, resulting in losses to the economy of £1.4 billion. Such an impact, English UK argues, would not justify the new rule introduced.

“It’s clearly absurd requiring students to know English before they come here to study it,” said Tony Milns, chief executive of English UK, “We are already seeing evidence from agents, who book students onto courses, that they are saying the UK doesn’t want students anymore.”

Milns said his association would suspend its legal action if the government backed down and reconsidered.

A Home Office spokesman said: “These changes were made in the best interests of the UK and we will robustly defend them in court if necessary. The new rules will ensure those who come to the UK to study English are genuine students and are not exploiting the system to work illegally.”

“Raising the level of English means students must demonstrate a commitment to learning English before they come. We welcome international students but there should be no doubt that we will come down hard on those who flout the rules.”Mark Lindsay, managing director of St Giles International, an English language college with sites around the UK, said: “With a forthcoming general election in mind, the government wants to be seen as ‘tough on immigration’. This is a sledgehammer to crack a nut and will exacerbate already severe problems of unemployment in the UK.”

He added: “The UK Border Agency has been encouraged by the government to clamp down on ‘bogus colleges’. But a number of wrongly accused colleges had recently had their accreditation restored.”

MPs press UK Government to drop new Tier 4 rules

Members of Parliament (MPs from parties covering the spectrum of UK politics, have called on the new UK Coalition Government to drop new Tier 4 rules deemed “flawed and rushed”, first introduced by the ousted Labour Government; the requirement of overseas students needing to take an English test if they wished to study in the UK.

A total of 14 MPs – from Labour and the Green Party, to the Conservatives and Lib Dems – signed the motion stating the new Tier 4 rules would deter 100,000 student migrants from coming to the UK.

Adding weight to this swell in opinion is a judicial review requested by English UK in order to force the new Government to drop the Tier 4 rules, which English UK called “barmy.” English UK are taking action to protect the members they represent; the UK economy could lose up to £1.4 billion and see another 3,400 people made unemployed. English UK believe that the changes are irrational given the adverse effect they will have on English language centres and other stakeholders and the absence of any evidence to suggest that they will prevent abuse of the immigration system.

English UK released the following statement through their lawyers:

“The application for judicial review was issued on 22 March 2010. Just two days later, Collins J took the unusual step of granting permission before the Secretary of State had filed an acknowledgement of service or summary grounds of defence. The order granting permission was made in unusually forthright terms, with the judge stating: “It is difficult to see how the extension of the level of English to those who come to study English can reasonably be justified.” Although permission was stayed to allow the respondent to argue why it should not have been granted, the Secretary of State has now confirmed that permission is not opposed.”

They added:

“The claim is brought on a number of grounds. English UK are arguing that the provision in the Immigration Rules (para. 120(a) of Appendix A) which allows the UKBA to set minimum academic standards for Tier 4 students in sponsor guidance, as opposed to in the Rules themselves, is unlawful.”

The judge, Collins J noted, when granting permission:

“The use of guidance in circumstances where its effect is to render entry for students more difficult is arguably a misuse of the powers contained in the 1971 Act.”

The full Early Day Motion laid before Parliament by Stephen Lloyd MP on 2 June 2010 reads:


Lloyd, Stephen

That this House is alarmed by the previous administration’s ruling of 10 March 2010 that raised detrimentally the entry criteria for foreign students wishing to study the English language in this country in an attempt to deter bogus students; notes that it was both a rushed and flawed alteration, including a requirement for students to already possess intermediate level English, which is equivalent to A level English, before being allowed to even study English in the UK; considers that it will discourage an estimated 100,000 legitimate international students from coming to the UK to study; further notes that the professional body, English UK, estimates that £400 million per annum and 3,400 jobs will be lost from the teaching sector and £1 billion from the university sector, who take around 46 per cent. of their international students from those who already study English in the UK; further considers that it will have a profound impact on the vital £17 million per annum which foreign students bring to the economy in Eastbourne; and calls on the Government and the new Immigration Minister to abolish this inexplicable legislation in order to protect the UK’s standing as a world leader in the area, noting that, if the Government does not rescind this legislation, other English-speaking countries will benefit while the UK’s vital home grown industry will suffer.

UK Border Agency Revises Visa Processing Times

The UK Border Agency has announced a revision to their service standards for visa processing times in order to improve the service provided to their customers. The UK Border Agency aims to make the issue of visa processing times more transparent and easier to understand for applicants of all UK visa classes.

The new customer service standards will apply to all applications but settlement visas. The UK Border Agency aim to process 90% of visa applications in a maximum of three weeks, 98% of all visa applications in six weeks and every single application they receive within 12 weeks. The performance of individual British High Commissions worldwide can be checked at any time, with data publicly provided on actual processing times, segmented by visa type.

There is of course one caveat, in that the UK Border Agency reserve the right to take as long as they deem necessary to ensure all security and document verification checks have been completed thoroughly. This is to ensure that the UK’s borders remain secure and protected at al times. However, the UK Border Agency are able to process the majority of applications sent to High Commissions well within the new timeframe guidelines.

In some parts of the world, it is necessary to make an appointment for applicants to provide biometric data. In this situation, the UK Border Agency’s new standards state that an applicant should receive an appointment no more than one week from the date it was requested.

With regards to UK visa applicants who’s initial application was denied, but an appeal allowed by an Immigration Judge, the UK Border Agency’s new standards aims for a full conclusion to be reached in no more than eight weeks. Performance data surrounding this issue will be made public from May 2010 onwards.

All applicants are reminded to check with their local VFS service to get a more detailed picture of visa processing times in their region. Remember to plan ahead and allow sufficient time for your application to be processed and decided. Don’t leave it to the last minute!

How the Highly Trusted Sponsor Scheme Applies to You

Both migrants and education providers have been under the new Highly Trusted Sponsor Tier 4 rules of the points-based system since 6 April. The list of Highly Trusted Sponsors has changed daily and will continue to do so.

The changes implemented 6 April follow the Government and UK Border Agency’s review of Tier 4. Now, only sponsors who have Highly Trusted status can offer what the UKBA term restricted courses to student migrants. The following are restricted courses and need a Highly Trusted Sponsor Licence to be run:

  • Courses of level 3 under the National Qualifications Framework or equivalent; and
  • Work and study courses that are below degree level (foundation degree programmes are excluded).

For the remaining institutions in the UK who hold a standard Tier 4 Sponsor Licence can only offer courses at level 4 of the National Qualifications Framework. They will also not be able to offer any courses that have a work placement element, unless they are at degree level or foundation degrees. You should check to make sure that your institution is on the Highly Trusted Sponsors List.

The reason that foundation degrees are exempt is that they lead to a minimum qualification of level 5 on the National Qualification Framework.

For student migrants who are currently studying a restricted course and their sponsor does not have Highly Trusted status, they will be permitted to remain at that institution until their course is completed or their visa expires, whichever is sooner.

Students wishing to extend their visas and are studying a restricted course, must change to a sponsor who has a Highly Trusted Sponsor licence.

Study Group UK Discusses the new Highly Trusted Sponsors list

Following the Home Office’s announcement in November of yet another review of the Points Based System, the education sector was a nervous wreck, waiting for news that could destroy the industry in the UK. Alan Johnson went someway to settling our nerves in February when he announced that education providers on the new Highly Trusted Sponsors list could continue to teach foundation and A-level programmes. We wanted to learn more about this new accreditation and how to achieve it.

Initially, the UK Border Agency said that applications for inclusion on the list could be made from 22 March 2010. However, with the system due to launch on 6 April, only 9 days later, the short timescale worried me very much indeed. From past experience, we knew the application process would be bureaucratic, slow and exhaustive. It could have been worse however, as if we were unable to issue CAS numbers until the new Highly Trusted system launched, then our usual busy weeks before our September intake would be unusually quiet. Positively, it seems that industry action from the likes of English UK and Study UK has had an effect; the whole process was revised following a recent meeting with the UK Border Agency on 27 March.

The UK Border Agency’s position on the Highly Trusted Sponsor programme is now that all education providers that receive public money will be automatically included on the new Register on 6 April and will be given until 30 May to submit all relevant and required documentation to keep their Highly Trusted licence. Deadlines have been extended for current A rated sponsors on the Register of Sponsors too, to 30 April and the UK Border Agency aims to process all education providers by 30 June 2010. During this time, we will be able to issue CAS numbers, thank God!

The other interesting element of the new Highly Trusted Sponsor programme is the statistics; the UK Border Agency has set strict thresholds for student dropouts, which institutions must stick to in order to retain their licence. Initially the UK Border Agency proposed 3% as the baseline and that any education provider who was Highly Trusted would be allowed a further % dropout rate from students who complete at least 75% of the course. The recent meeting with the UK Border Agency did not see these percentages changed, but instead they will be applied to all publicly funded institutions too. Further, the UK Border Agency seemed to soften their stance, stating that education providers who exceed these baselines would not necessary have their licence withdrawn, but would be subject to UK Border Agency review of the sponsor’s processes.

The extended deadlines for the submission of relevant documents for a Highly Trusted Sponsor licence applications is warmly welcomed as is the UK Border Agency’s revised approach to dropouts.

We expect the education sector in the UK to remain in a state of shell shock, but the impact of the new system has definitely be softened. However, major damage has been done following the UK Border Agency’s intervention, with the UK losing many international students to the USA and Australia. We’re confident that the new approach from the UK Border Agency and shift in attitude signals a new era and offers real hope that the UK Border Agency is finally beginning to consider all the variables at play and making informed decisions when deciding policy. Hopefully we can now move on and secure the UK’s reputation for a fine education as well as begin to repair the damage to the sector’s reputation.

Tier 4 Policy Guidance: The Highly Trusted Sponsor Scheme

What is Highly Trusted Sponsorship?

The principle of sponsorship – whereby those who benefit most directly from the great contributions migrants make to the United Kingdom (employers and education institutions) are expected to play their part in ensuring our migration system is not abuse – is an integral part of the skilled, temporary work and student tiers of the Points Based System for managed migration.

The new Highly Trusted sponsor category is a further segmentation of the existing sponsor rating system designed to identify those sponsors who are achieving the highest levels of compliance with their sponsor obligations and whose students are showing the greatest compliance with the terms of their visa or leave.

Those holding a “Highly Trusted sponsor” licence will be granted additional freedoms and offered new services to recognise their previous track record of good compliance.

The new Tier 4 Highly Trusted sponsor licence will be launched on 6 April 2010 Sponsors under Tiers 2 and 5 will be able to apply later in the year.

A Highly Trusted sponsor licence will be awarded to sponsors who apply for a licence and can demonstrate full compliance with their sponsor duties over a period of time and who meet the criteria set out. There will be a number of benefits offered to sponsors who qualify as Highly Trusted.

Highly Trusted sponsors will be expected to meet the published Highly Trusted criteria throughout the period they are licensed as Highly Trusted.

Why is the Highly Trusted Sponsor Scheme being Introduced?

The Highly Trusted sponsors licence is designed as recognition of those sponsors who are achieving the highest levels of compliance with their sponsor obligations and whose students are showing the greatest compliance with the terms of their visa or leave.

By identifying those sponsors who are achieving high levels of compliance the UK Border Agency can both target their resources elsewhere on areas of higher risk, and can provide additional services and freedoms which recognise the good track record demonstrated by Highly Trusted sponsors thus far.

The Highly Trusted Sponsor scheme will cut red tape for sponsors who qualify and allow our systems to monitor the others more thoroughly.

Why should Schools and Colleges apply for a Highly Trusted Sponsor Licence?

There are a number of benefits to being a Highly Trusted sponsor. These are:

  • the ability to offer a wider range of courses below degree level as follows:
    • courses at National Qualifications Framework (NQF) level 3 (and equivalent); and
    • courses below degree level (excluding foundation degrees) which include work placements;
  • the ability to assign additional confirmation of acceptance for studies to students who have already undertaken two re-sits providing the re-sit has been approved via your internal panels and boards who authorise additional re-sits in exceptional circumstances. The UK Border Agency retains the right to seek further information if unusual patterns are detected in this area;
  • a more flexible approach to reporting student non-attendance replacing the ’10 expected contacts’ requirement will be the ability to:
    • report non-enrolments as per the current guidance;
    • report any students who formally withdraw from their studies within 10 days as per the current guidance;
    • undertake (at least) two further re-registrations, spaced evenly throughout the academic year and report withdrawals within 10 days of the re-registration process.
  • account management provisions. Each sponsor account manager will manage a portfolio of sponsors and will act as a single point of contact with the assurance of at least one annual visit per year and the option for further services.
  • The UK Border Agency will work with Highly Trusted sponsors in the coming months to identify further service offerings.

What are the Criteria for a Highly Trusted Sponsor Licence?

An application for a Tier 4 Highly Trusted sponsor licence will be assessed against nine criteria. Unless otherwise stated, the sponsor’s performance in the preceding 12 months will be measured against the nine criteria and values set out below:

  1. the sponsor must have a minimum of six months as an A (trusted) sponsor, must at the time of application be rated as A (trusted) for all tiers for which they hold a licence;
  2. the sponsor must have in place recruitment practices to ensure as far as possible genuine students only are accepted and issued with confirmation of acceptance for studies – UK Border Agency will expect sponsors to have acted upon the published guidance and ‘Tier 4 sponsor recruitment practices – Information Sharing’ where recruitment issues are identified;
  3. the sponsor must not have been issued with a civil penalty in the last three years and any civil penalty issued prior to that must have been paid in full;
  4. the sponsor must have in place practices to minimise the number of refusals of leave for migrants applying with a confirmation of acceptance for studies. The UK Border Agency are not publishing a target percentage rate for refusals at this time and will instead look at how far refusal rates deviate from the ‘norm’ for that location and part of the sector. The UK Border Agency expect to be able to publish a clearer statement of their expectations on refusals in due course.
  5. UKBA is concerned about the risk of those who seek to use the student route to enter the UK but have no intention to study. To minimise the occurrence of such abuse of the system, the sponsor must ensure potential students are vetted thoroughly before issuing a confirmation of acceptance for studies. The UK Border Agency expect no more than 2% of the total number of ‘students’ issued with entry clearance (or Leave to Remain) for the sponsoring institution and who have entered or remain in the UK to have not enrolled within 1 month of the course commencing.
  6. Once enrolled, the sponsor must take all reasonable steps to ensure that the students they sponsor will attend and complete their course of study. Please note that any sponsored students who have moved to a different institution, or who have definitely left the United Kingdom or who have applied to switch to a different immigration category are not included in this measure. This measure is cumulative against the original number enrolled as follows:
    • more than 1% of those ceasing their course within 33% of the course duration;
    • more than 2% of those ceasing their studies within 66% of their course duration;
    • more than 3 % of those enrolled who have failed to complete their course;
  7. No more than 5% total number of students sponsored who have been granted leave under Tier 4, and, for those overseas, who have travelled to the UK, must have failed to enrol or failed to complete the course
  8. A sponsor must ensure attendance or progression monitoring is completed in accordance with their sponsor duties; and / or accreditation requirements.
  9. There must not have been any serious concerns raised following a UK Border Agency sponsor inspections in the previous 12 months.

This detailed look at the scheme follows our announcement of the launch of the Highly Trusted Sponsor Scheme on 22 March 2010.

Tier 4 Highly Trusted Sponsor Scheme Launched

The highly anticipated Highly Trusted Sponsor programme for education providers in the UK was officially launched on 22 March 2010.

Since yesterday when the scheme went live, sponsors under Tier 4 of the points based system have been able to apply for a Highly Trusted Sponsor licence and to be included on the Register of Highly Trusted Sponsors, due to be first published 6 April 2010.

Under Tier 4 of the points based system, education providers are given an A or B rating according to their track record and systems and procedures for monitoring student migrants once in the UK. The Highly Trust Sponsor list seeks to build on this current rating system.

However, the scheme is not about academic performance of education providers but instead about immigration and border control. For a sponsor to be granted a Highly Trusted Sponsor licence, schools and colleges will be required to have a proven track record in recruiting genuine students who conform to all immigrations rules when they apply and during their time in the UK.

The UK Border Agency announced their intention to keep a closer eye on sponsors through the new scheme – bureaucracy will be reduced for Highly Trusted Sponsors, freeing more resources to be used in the fight against those that wish to abuse the system. Tight minimum standards will be required by the UK Border Agency and any slip-up will see Highly Trusted Sponsors having their licences permanently withdrawn.

For those schools and colleges that remain on the General Register of Sponsors, they will be greatly limited in the courses they will be allowed to offer to student migrants. In conclusion, schools and colleges who are given Highly Trusted Sponsors licences will feel the immediate pressure of the UK Border Agency reduced, with more flexible working arrangements.

More details on the Highly Trusted Sponsors Scheme to follow shortly.

Tier 4 Policy Guidance: The Highly Trusted Sponsor Scheme