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UKBA to review Highly Trusted Sponsor status


Objective is to see if arrangements can re improved
19th April 2011: The UK Border Agency will shortly be reviewing Highly Trusted sponsor status, to see whether they can improve the arrangements in the light of experience to ensure that policy and enforcement objectives are being met.
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`All applications for Highly Trusted sponsor status will be considered against the criteria in place on the date of the application’, the UKBA has added.

It adds: From 21 April 2011, new sponsors not already on the Tier 4 register will have to meet the new educational accreditation criteria in order to be issued a Tier 4 licence.

The UKBA has also asserted the existing sponsors will be subject to an interim limit on the number of students they can sponsor unless they hold Highly Trusted Sponsor status; and meet the new accreditation criteria
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The UKBA has added: `The existing sponsors that do not already meet the new accreditation criteria will be required to apply to the relevant inspection body… in order to be able to continue to sponsor new students, subject to the interim limit, during the transitional period.

`B rated sponsors will not be able to assign CAS to new students; only to those seeking to
complete a course.

`A sponsor who is not subject to the interim limit may sponsor, using his own CAS allocation, students studying at a sponsor who is subject to the interim limit, but must take full responsibility for them, e.g. higher education institutions1 could sponsor students at Pathway providers.

`We will tighten the English language requirements for Tier 4 (General) students….. A student may be refused a visa or entry to the UK if he cannot speak English without
assistance.
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`We shall clarify that a CAS may only be issued in respect of a single course, except where the student is attending a pre-sessional course of not more than three months’ duration and has an unconditional offer of a place at a higher education institution or at an independent school starting not more than one month after the end of the pre-sessional course.

According to changes from July 2011, a sponsors will have to vouch for academic progression for students changing course, where the new course is not a step up the NQF/ QCF / SCQF scale.

`Students will have to declare at the visa application stage that they hold and will continue to hold the required maintenance funds to support themselves and pay for their
course. We shall publish local lists of financial institutions with whom we are unable to verify financial statements to our satisfaction.

`Students of designated low-risk nationalities attending courses at Highly Trusted Sponsors will not routinely have to present the specified documents at the visa application stage in respect of their maintenance funds or educational qualifications, although we reserve the right to ask to see the evidence.

`We will restrict permission to work during studies for new students, so that only students
at higher education institutions and publicly funded further education colleges can do so,
retaining their current entitlements.

`We will only allow new students studying at a higher education institution on a course on NQF 7 / QCF 7 / SQCF 11 or above lasting 12 months or more to sponsor their dependants. The dependants will be able to work,’ the UKBA has added.

Summing up, the UKBA says: It has recently announced changes to the Tier 4 sponsor requirements.

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