***Please note that the regulations relating to Tier
4 Sponsorship Licence have changed on 1 December 2020. Click here to find out more about the changes. ***
What is a Tier 4 Sponsorship Licence application?
A Tier 4 Sponsorship Licence allows education providers to sponsor international students outside of the EEA to come to the United Kingdom for full-time study through a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS).
What is a CAS?
A CAS is an electronic certificate with a unique reference number, which is assigned to the migrant in accordance with the Tier 4 sponsorship guidance. Once a Tier 4 Sponsorship Licence application has been approved, the sponsor can issue a CAS to the migrant. They can thereafter apply for a Tier 4 general visa.
What is the process for applying for a Tier 4 Sponsorship Licence?
The education provider wishing to obtain a Licence must check they meet the sponsor requirements listed in the Tier 4 Sponsor Guidance, they must:
- Complete an application a Tier 4 Sponsorship Licence online via the SMS portal.
- Provide the necessary documents listed in Appendix A of the Sponsor Guidance.
- Provide an estimate of the number of confirmations of acceptance for studies (CAS) to be applied for in the first year of the Licence and pay the fee of £536.
Most applications are decided upon within 4 weeks. Approved applications will be granted probationary sponsor status and be given details for the online sponsorship management system (SMS). Please note that the Home Office has stated that the approval of a Tier 4 Sponsorship Licence is a privilege, not a right. Therefore, the sponsor will need to ensure that they adhere to the requirements set out in the Tier 4 policy guidance at all times, alongside the maintenance of adequate record keeping and HR systems.
Guiding principles of the Tier 4 Sponsorship Licence application
To ensure that the tier 4 sponsor is able to make a successful application, they will need to demonstrate that:
- They are a genuine education provider that has acceptable educational quality standards, is operating lawfully in the UK and complying with all appropriate rules and regulations;
- They have the integrity to hold a Tier 4 Licence; and
- Are capable of carrying out its duties as a sponsor through the implementation of various HR and record keeping procedures.
Home Office inspection visit and Tier 4 Sponsor Duties
Prior to making a decision on a Tier 4 sponsorship Licence application or as a means to ensure a sponsor is adhering to its Tier 4 Sponsor duties, the Home Office may make an unannounced visit to inspect the sponsor’s HR policies to confirm that they will have sufficient measures in place to fulfill their obligations.
Tier 4 Probationary Sponsor status
Once approved, a sponsor is initially granted a 12-month probationary status. This is a transitional period where the sponsor will need to demonstrate that it understands and can fulfil its duties as a sponsor. At the end of the probation period, the sponsor will need to apply for and pass its first annual Basic Compliance Assessment after which it will be given Tier 4 Sponsor status.
Tier 4 general genuineness test for entry clearance
The Home Office has introduced a genuineness test in line with all points-based applications. This subjectively assesses whether an education provider has genuine and suitable courses available for international students. The student wishing to apply for entry clearance under the Licence must prove they are a genuine student. Caseworkers may assess the student’s education and immigration history, along with their financial circumstances.
How long is the Tier 4 Sponsorship Licence granted for?
A Tier 4 Licence is valid for four years from the date it is granted, unless it is revoked or surrendered.
How can NA Law Solicitors help with your Tier 4 Sponsor Licence Application?
NA Law Solicitors has a successful track record of providing practical, precise and cost-effective immigration advice to education providers on all aspects of UK immigration law. We can help you apply for a Tier 4 Sponsorship Licence and to thereafter comply with your obligations as a Tier 4 Sponsorship Licence holder.
For more information on the duties imposed on education providers, visit the following page: Tier 4 Sponsor duties.
Alternatively, please feel free to get in touch for a 15-minute telephone consultation on how to make a successful Tier 4 Sponsorship Licence application.