SMS available to Tier 4 sponsors to issue CAS
06 October 2009: The UK Border Agency has, for the first time, enabled education providers to use the sponsorship management system (SMS). Additionally, the SMS is now available to Tier 4 sponsors, enabling them to issue confirmations of acceptance for studies (CAS) for the first time.
The agency has implemented phase 3 of Tier 4 of the points-based system for immigration. It is the voluntary trial period of the sponsorship management system (SMS) for Tier 4 sponsors.
During this period, sponsors can continue using visa letters, while gradually adopting the use of the SMS to issue confirmations of acceptance for studies (CAS). CAS will completely replace visa letters in February 2010.
Until February 2010, sponsors will be able to issue CAS, visa letters or a combination of both to would-be students, who are applying for a visa from within the United Kingdom. Would-be students applying from outside the United Kingdom will still need to apply with a visa letter until February 2010.
To start using the SMS, you have to go to the SMS login page and log in using the username and password sent to you by the UK Border Agency you when you become a registered Tier 4 sponsor. All Tier 4 sponsors need to complete a transition exercise before they can use the system.
Additional information on sponsorship management system, including user guides, Tier 4 implementation plan, and its phased implementation approach, can be had from the UK Border Agency website.
The UK Border Agency has, in fact, published revised guidance for employers and education providers, who sponsor migrants under the points-based system.
The sponsor guidance has now been split into separate documents for employers (Tiers 2 and 5 of the points-based system) and for education providers (Tier 4). Both guidance documents, together with a list of changes from the previous guidance, can be downloaded from the sponsor guidance page of the website.