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Sponsoring students under the points-based system for immigration

Here you can get information regarding UK education providers who want to apply for a licence under tier 4 to be able to bring international students from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) to their education institutions under the points-based system.

Draft guidance for education providers sponsoring students

Home Office  have published an

extract of the draft guidance for sponsors which is due to be published in later in March 2009. This extract is specific only to tier 4 sponsors and covers the majority of new policy which will apply from 31 March 2009.

Key elements of the new system

  1. You must have a licence.
  2. You must comply with your sponsorship duties.
  3. From 31 March 2009, you must issue a visa letter to each non-EEA student to enable them to apply for a new visa or extension. This will be replaced by a confirmation of acceptance for studies when sponsors start using the sponsorship management system to issue confirmation of acceptance for studies later in 2009.
  4. You will use the sponsorship management system to issue and pay for each confirmation of acceptance for studies, and to fulfill your reporting duties.

Key dates

Home Office are introducing the new student route of the points-based system in phases after consultation with the sector. The phases are explained in the tier 4 implementation plan.

Date Activity
2 February 2009 All education providers must have applied to become licensed sponsors if they want to bring in non-EEA students from the end of March 2009
31 March 2009 All students must apply under tier 4 and pass a points-based assessment
Autumn 2009 Sponsors begin using the sponsorship management system to issue confirmations of acceptance for studies for students applying from inside the United Kingdom in two stages:
  • switching from another tier or route, to extend their stay;
  • extending their current student visa.
February 2010 Sponsorship management system is fully implemented for the issue of confirmation of acceptance for studies to students applying from both inside and outside the United Kingdom

The sponsor licence

Education providers who have not yet registered as a sponsor under Tier 4 should apply for a licence as soon as possible.

Home Office cannot guarantee now that Home Office will be able to grant you a sponsor licence by the end of March ? but without a licence you will not be able to bring international students into the United Kingdom after that time. So ensure that your application contains all the relevant documents and fees, as this will reduce any delay in processing. 

To get a sponsor licence, you must:

  • be able to show that you are inspected, audited or accredited by one of the UK Border Agency's approved bodies;
  • allocate a number of key roles to staff using the sponsorship management system;
  • be able to comply with your sponsorship duties; and
  • have the appropriate HR systems in place to be able to monitor your students' attendance, when the reporting functionality in the sponsorship management system is rolled out for education providers later in 2009.

You will be given an A or B rating and added to the tier 4 register of sponsors. Find out more about ratings in How Home Office manage sponsors and ratings.

Sponsorship duties

Your sponsorship duties include duties to:

  • maintain any appropriate accreditation;
  • keep copies of all students' passports;
  • keep up-to-date contact details for students; and
  • tell Home Office if a student has any unauthorized absences, fails to enroll on their course or stops their studies.

You will use the sponsorship management system to fulfill your reporting duties when the reporting functionality goes live later in 2009.
 
Find a full list of all
sponsorship duties.

Here is you can find the registerd of sponsors for Tier 4.

The visa letter or confirmation of acceptance for studies

To bring non-EU students to the United Kingdom from March 2009, you must issue students with a visa letter. This is only if you are giving the student an unconditional offer. If they apply successfully, the student's visa will then be linked to your institution. Find draft visa letter for general students..

From autumn 2009, sponsors will start issuing confirmation of acceptance for studies (which is a unique reference number) instead of visa letters, using the sponsorship management system. Each confirmation of acceptance for studies will cost £10.

Students can have many visa letters or confirmations of acceptance for studies from institutions they have applied to, but can use only one visa letter (or confirmation of acceptance for studies) to apply.

 

Students will be awarded 30 points for a visa letter or confirmation of acceptance for studies, and must score 10 points for maintenance (fees and living expenses) to pass the points-based assessment and be able to apply.

The sponsorship management system

Education providers can currently use the sponsorship management system to update their contact details. In the autumn of 2009, education providers will start using the sponsorship management system to issue confirmation of acceptance for studies and report student activity, before full implementation in February 2010. Home Office are working with key stakeholders on the phased approach. The

tier 4 implementation plan explains the phases.

Key benefits of the new system

  • the sponsor licence ensures all colleges are genuine and eliminates bogus institutions;
  • sponsors are responsible for assessing whether a student meets the academic requirements for the course;
  • the student's visa is linked to the institution; and
  • depending on what has been studied, if students want to stay on in the United Kingdom once they have successfully got their qualification, they may be eligible to switch into the post-study worker category of tier 1.

 

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