Tier 4 Sponsor Licence

At AWH Solicitors we offer guidance and assistance to universities, schools and other education providers to help them obtain their tier 4 sponsor licence and/or the desirable ‘Highly Trusted Sponsor’ status.

Pre-Audit Licence Checks

Our pre-audit checks are rigorous and comparable to those that will be carried out by the Home Office upon application.

With our help you can be assured that you are fully compliant with UK immigration law, allowing you to easily apply for, and maintain, your licence status. Thus, allowing you to enrol foreign nationals onto your educational programs.

What is a Tier 4 Sponsor Licence?

As an educator, you must be granted a Tier 4 sponsor licence to be allowed to sponsor a foreign student.

Holders of a tier 4 sponsor licence can enrol students from outside of the EEA and Switzerland who are going to be studying in the UK under their tier 4 student visa.

Tier 4 Students

Students holding a tier 4 student visa can study in the UK full-time or part-time for a specific period, as defined in their visa.

Tier 4 visa holders may be granted permission to work a certain number of hours a week in addition to their education, they may be able to extend their stay in the UK and they may bring dependants with them.

The Tier 4 Sponsorship Regime

The tier 4 sponsorship regime is based on the consideration that being allowed to sponsor foreign students is a privilege, not a right.

Therefore, education providers benefiting from a sponsorship licence must take responsibility to prevent the immigration system from being abused.

The system is set out to ensure that all foreign students who are temporarily moving to the UK under a tier 4 visa are eligible to study and live in the UK for that time, and that they will attend a school or university that is genuinely capable and willing to teach them.

OfS and Educational Oversight

Any higher education provider who aims to be a tier 4 sponsor will need to be registered with the OfS as an approved provider.

This will allow them the ‘educational oversight’ required to be granted their sponsor licence.

Language Abilities of Students

Education providers who are eligible to offer the full privileges under their tier 4 sponsorship licence are entitled to self-assess the English language abilities of their prospective students.

This privilege can often significantly speed up the application and enrolment processes for students.

For an education provider to be eligible to offer these full privileges of the tier 4 sponsorship licence they must have passed its ‘Basic Compliance Assessment’, otherwise referred to as BCA, for four consecutive years as a tier 4 sponsor first.

The Basic Compliance Assessment

The Basic Compliance Assessment must be taken every 12 months while holding a sponsorship licence. If a licence holder does not apply for their yearly BCA in due time they will be temporarily removed from the Tier 4 Register of Sponsors, after which they will be given 20 working days to react.

During the compliance assessment the licence holder will be assessed on what are considered to be the core requirements for holders of the sponsorship licence.

A sponsorship licence holder must yearly prove to have a visa refusal rate of less than 10 percent, an enrolment rate of at least 90 percent and a course completion rate of at least 85 percent.

If these eligibility requirements are not met the licence holder may risk losing its sponsorship rights.

Highly Trusted Sponsor (HTS)

As a school or university offering educational programs to foreign nationals, you can obtain an elevated status by becoming a Highly Trusted Sponsor (HTS).

Schools and universities can benefit from the HTS status in multiple ways.

HTS institutions are considered better than other education providers and are therefore more attractive to foreign students. Additionally, these institutions are often allowed a greater deal of autonomy during the recruitment of student’s process, making application processes more straight-forward for educators and student alike.

UK Immigration Solicitors

The immigration department at AWH Solicitors is accredited by the Law Society in Immigration and Asylum Law and consistently provides excellent advice and guidance to all its clients.

You can trust that the services our experienced immigration solicitors offer will be at the highest standard; meeting the specific needs of your university or school.

If you would like to speak to one of our immigration solicitors regarding obtaining or maintaining your tier 4 visa sponsor licence, compliance, or other immigration service then contact us today.

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