Visa letters to become obsolete from 22 February 2010
26th January 2010: Visa letters will be obsolete from 22 February 2010. This follows change in the procedure for sponsoring students under Tier 4 of the points-based system from next month with the introduction of phase four of Tier 4.
The UK Border Agency had made it clear that Tier 4 sponsors will need to use sponsorship management system to issue confirmations of acceptance for studies (CASs) to all potential students, whether they are applying from inside or outside the UK.
From the same date, the Agency will refuse any student application under Tier 4 that does not contain a CAS number. If a sponsor issues a visa letter before 22 February to a student who intends to apply to on or after that date, a CAS must also be issued.
If a student has used a CAS in their application, their sponsor must use the sponsorship management system to report on that student in any of the circumstances listed on the Reporting page of the Agency website.
For more information about Tier 4 sponsors’ responsibilities, Tier 4 sponsor guidance can be downloaded from the website.
The Agency has added next scheduled release of enhancements to the UK Border Agency’s sponsorship management system will take place on Monday 22 February 2010.
The sponsorship management system is a secure IT system, enabling licensed sponsors to bring overseas workers and students to the UK and manage their stay here.
Next month’s changes have been influenced by consultation with sponsors and feedback from key stakeholder groups. As a result of the changes in case of Tier 2 sponsors only: an A-rated sponsor will be able to confirm that it will support an overseas worker, so that they will not claim public funds.
In case of Tier 2 and Tier 5 sponsors only, a sponsor will be able to create, assign and pay for certificates in batches (a facility that already exists for Tier 4 sponsors) – this includes e-payment, manual payment, and deferring payment where applicable; a sponsor will be able to input an overseas worker’s details into a single certificate, based on the worker’s previous certificate assigned by that sponsor – some data will be automatically carried over from the previous certificate; and a sponsor’s level 1 user will be able to transfer single, group or batch certificates between the sponsor’s users, a facility that already exists for Tier 4 sponsors);
In case of Tier 2, Tier 4 and Tier 5 sponsors, a sponsor will be able to send a ‘sponsor note’ telling us about minor changes to a certificate of sponsorship (CoS) or a confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) before the overseas worker or student uses it – our staff will be able to view this information when assessing their application to us; and a sponsor will be able to input the details of a group or batch CoS or CAS, based on the previous CoS or CAS within the group or batch – by carrying over some CoS or CAS data, this will reduce the need to re-input data that are not specific to each overseas worker or student.
These changes and others will be reflected in the sponsor management system user guides and the points-based system policy guidance, which will be updated and published on the website before the changes come into effect.