University of Bedford Resumes Tier 4 Sponsorship Licence

This week, the University of Bedford has resumed recruiting international students after the Home Office made the decision to stop the University from issuing CAS letters on 24 June 2014. This comes after the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) conducted a detailed investigation after allegations came to light that migrants were taking fraudulent measures to obtain English language certificates. An estimated 50,000 international students have been found guilty of obtaining English language dishonestly and as a result the Home Office has suspended student sponsorship licences of three Universities in the UK. 

University Vice Chancellor: We take our Immigration Compliance Responsibilities Extremely Seriously

The Minister for Immigration and Security James Brokenshire presented a statement to Parliament on the abuse of student visas. This led to the UKVI investigating Universities and private colleges across the UK to ensure they were complying with the Immigration rules of obtaining and maintaining Tier 4 Sponsorship licences.

Despite the Home Office putting a pause on the University of Bedford’s ability to issue Confirmation of Acceptance fro Studies (CAS) letters to international students, their licence was not suspended. Their current international students were also not affected in any way by the short pause. Ecstatic at the outcome of the UKVI investigation, Bill Rammell, the University’s Vice Chancellor, said: 

“I was always confident that our procedures for monitoring international students were robust, and I’m pleased that UKVI’s thorough and detailed audit has confirmed this. We take our immigration compliance responsibilities extremely seriously. We cooperated with UKVI throughout the audit and I’m delighted that, following this decision, we can now resume issuing CAS letters to new international students. We recruit large numbers of international students because of our excellent student experience and graduate employability success. We can now provide more opportunities such as this.”

Rammell, also added that 92% of students at the University find employment after their studies or go on to further education after they have graduated.

Tier 4 Sponsor’s Responsibilities & Affect on Tier 4 Students

A Tier 4 sponsor licence should be obtained by educational institutions if they want to enrol students from outside the European Economic Area (EEA). A sponsor licence is valid for four years unless revoked by the Home Office or the institution surrenders it before it expires. The four years runs from the date the licence is granted. To continue sponsoring students, the licence must be renewed after four years. If the licence is not renewed it will expire. If the license expires the educational institution will no longer be listed on the register of sponsors nor will it be allowed to continue sponsoring existing students or recruit new students.

All education providers should take their obligations on immigration compliance seriously. If the institutions Tier 4 Sponsorship licence is withdrawn  all CASes or visa letters issued by it will become invalid and all outstanding visa applications will be refused. If students have already been issued visas but not yet traveled to the UK, they will not be allowed to enter the UK to start the courses. International students who are in the UK at the time their institutions licence is revoked they will have a limited period of time to apply to study at another educational institution or leave the UK.

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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