CAS replaces visa letter

UKBA implements final phase of PBS’s student tier 

24th February 2010: Visa letters have become obsolete in case of Tier 4 sponsors with the implementation of the final phase of the points-based system’s student tier.
The UK Border Agency has asserted the final phase’s implementation has, in fact, resulted in two major changes for Tier 4 sponsors.

It said all potential Tier 4 students now applying to the UKBA from inside or outside the UK must use a confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) in their application. All applications that do not contain a CAS will fall for refusal.

The sponsors will need to provide all potential students with a CAS reference number and sponsor licence number (SLN). They will also need to give the students all the information they will need when making their application. This information is sometimes called a ‘CAS statement’; it is up to sponsors to decide its format and how to send it to their potential students.

A ‘CAS statement’ may contain: student name; date of birth; course title; course start and end date; details of any financial sponsorship/deposits taken; documents that should be included as part of an application to prove qualifications; CAS number; and ATAS certificate (if appropriate).

This additional information will assist UKBA’s caseworkers and entry clearance officers when making decisions on migrant applications under Tier 4.

If a prospective student has a visa letter issued before 22 February 2010, they can no longer use it to apply for a Tier 4 student visa. If a sponsor has issued a visa letter to a student who is intending to apply, he must replace the visa letter with a CAS.

For out-of-country students, the date of application is the date when the application fee is paid – so a prospective student must be in possession of a CAS if they are paying their application fee today or later.

The UKBA said sponsors now must also report via the sponsorship management system (SMS) on students who have used a CAS in an application. For further guidance, they can see the Sponsor duties – Tier 4 page of UKBA website.

Before the sponsors can issue CASs to migrants, they must have performed the transition exercise on the SMS. If they have not yet done so, they can find full details on the Transition exercise page of the website.

The Agency added the users can now create a new CAS from the details of a previous CAS created in a batch; the main site study address will be mandatory for the assignment of a CAS.

All changes and updates to the SMS will be reflected in the SMS user guides and policy guidance, which are available on the website. The UKBA has advised the sponsors to visit the website and familiarise themselves with the new functionality.

They can find information about the SMS, and the updated SMS user guides, in the SMS guidance section of the UKBA website.

Revised Tier 4 migrant application forms are also available on the website for applications now made.

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