UK Immigration: University’s Tier 4 Sponsorship Licence Suspended

This week, it was announced that the Buckinghamshire New University’s Tier 4 Sponsorship Licence has been suspended. The reason for the Sponsorship Licence suspension is due to the number of international Student’s Tier 4 Student visa applications being refused. From November 2014, the UK Government announced that UK Universities would lose their Tier 4 Sponsorship Licence if 10% of the non-EU students they offered a place to are refused a Tier 4 Student visa. 

University Exceeded the Accepted Visa Refusal Rate

Buckinghamshire New University made an application to renew their Tier 4 Sponsorship Licence in October 2014. This application was refused when the University exceeded the accepted visa refusal rate by just three students. The University has 20 days to appeal the Home Office’s decision. The University’s Vice Chancellor commented on the suspension of the University’s Tier 4 Sponsorship Licence:

“We are continually working, as are all other UK universities, to improve our systems and processes in order to meet a challenging set of sponsorship rules and our senior management team will be cooperating fully with UKVI.”

The UK Home Office has published a guidance for international students and workers currently at the University or due to join the University. The Home Office notes that international students who have received a Certificate of Sponsorship (CAS) from the University and are in the process of applying for a visa, will have their visa applications put ‘on hold’, until the matter is resolved. International Students who have had their Tier 4 Student Visas granted, but are not yet in the UK have been told not to travel to the UK.

Immigration Rules on Obtaining Sponsorship Licences are Complicated

Education providers wishing to enrol overseas students from outside the EU are required to ‘sponsor’ them under Tier 4 of the Points Based System. Education providers will need to obtain a Tier 4 Sponsorship Licence from the Home Office. The rules on obtaining Sponsorship Licences can be complicated and our expert Immigration Solicitors are on hand to assist you with obtaining a licence. The concept of sponsorship in relation to Tier 4 is that it provides evidence that the student will study for an approved qualification and places duties on education providers that it must abide by.

UK Universities who want to recruit students from outside the EU must meet the standards set out in the Home Office’s Highly Trusted Sponsors (HTS) guidance. Once a University has obtained a Tier 4 Sponsorship Licence they will appear on the register as an A-rated sponsor and Highly Trusted Sponsors. For further information and understanding of the terms and conditions of applying for a Tier 4 Sponsorship Licence or Tier 4 Student visa, our City of London Lawyers will provide you with the details.

Legal Advice for Tier 4 Education Providers & Tier 4 Students

It is imperative that Tier 4 Sponsors comply with their sponsor duties as failure to do so will lead to the Home Office revoking your sponsorship licence, suspend your licence pending further investigation or reduce the number of CAS you are allowed to assign.

If the Home Office has issued you with any of the above penalties, contact us so that we can review your case and provide you with expert legal advice on how to proceed.

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