From the 22nd February 2010 new responsibilities and procedures will be implemented for Tier 4 Sponsors (Academic Institutions) when Phase 4 Implementation of Tier 4 Student begins. From this date Sponsors will be required to issue Confirmations of Acceptance for studies (CAS) to all students whether they apply from inside or outside of the United Kingdom. At present Tier 4 Sponsors can issue”Visa Letters” rather than CAS Certificates and are not required to comply with the reporting requirements of Tier 4 (see below). A Confirmation of Acceptance is a 10 digit reference number which corresponds to a database record in the UK Border Agency’s Sponsor Management System.
From the 22nd February 2010 Students applying for a Tier 4 visawill be refused if they apply with an obsolete Visa Letter rather than a Confirmation of Acceptance. Those Students planning on applying after the 22nd February who already hold a Visa Letter must also secure a CAS if they wish to gain a successful approval. Any issues in the application may cause length delays (see Visa Processing Statistics for Information on current Out of Country Processing Times).
Mandatory Reporting Requirements
The changes to Tier 4 will mean greater responsibility of Academic Institutions and greater administration. From the 22nd February it will be mandatory for a Tier 4 sponsor to comply with the reporting requirements of Tier 4, such as those detailed below. Tier 4 Sponsors must report the following information to the UK Border Agency within the required timeframe and using the Sponsor Management System:
- If a Student does not enrol on their course at the expected time the Tier 4 Sponsor must inform the UK Border Agency within 10 working days. A reason for the Student’s non attendance must be provided
- If the Student misses 10 ‘expected contacts’ on their course of study without the Academic Institutions permission the UKBA must be informed within:
- 10 working days of the 10th day of absence, OR
- 10 working days of the 10th missed contact
- If the Student stops their studies the Sponsor must inform the UKBA within 10 working days of the event and provide the name and address of the new Academic Institution if known
- If the Academic Institution stops sponsoring the Student for any reason the UKBA must be informed within 10 working days
- If their are any significant changes to the Students circumstances (e.g. the length of course) the UKBA must be informed within 10 working days
Closure of 140 Colleges
On a separate note, the Implementation of Tier 4 of the Points Based System has led to the closure of 140 Colleges, that was the news yesterday from Lord West of Spitfiled who said that ‘In the last six months we have carried out around 600 Inspections, suspending 140 and revoking 15 Tier 4 Licenses’.
Tier 4 was implemented in March of 2009. Since this time Academic Institutions have had to apply for a Tier 4 Sponsorship License in order to ‘sponsor’ students from outside the European Economic Area (EEA).
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