In order to accept foreign students, every UK lawful education provider needs a sponsorship licence. As is the case with businesses, the UK sponsorship system for applicants of study visas acts as a regulator for the inflow of foreign students, and the sponsors act as guarantors.
Despite all the similarities between obtaining a sponsorship licence to employ a foreign worker and to accept a foreign student, the sponsorship system in the area of education deserves a separate article. This article will be especially useful for those who dedicate themselves to the provision of education in the UK and who consider attracting foreign students an important part of their further development.
An education provider can apply for a UK sponsorship licence for the following two visa routes:
As is the case with sponsorship licences for employers, a sponsor (an educator) needs to apply to the Home Office to get relevant permissions. The best way to begin is to get in touch with a competent law firm which will not only provide you with a consultation on any arising issue, but will also, if necessary, legally act on your behalf.
In order to obtain a sponsorship licence to sponsor students, an educator must comply with the following criteria:
An education provider must not only comply with all the mentioned criteria before being granted a sponsorship licence but keep their standards up in order to maintain the licence.
In order to decide whether you can be a sponsor for foreign students, the Home Office checks several things:
The documents which you put in together with the application are not the last thing for the Home Office officials to base their decision on.
By law, an education provider that wants to be a sponsor, must appoint key personnel responsible for managing their sponsorship licence and issuing certificates of sponsorship for students, and provide their contact details to the Home Office. The key personnel must have no criminal or immigration offences before getting the licence or during its period of validity.
The separation of duties is the same as is the case with sponsorship for foreign workers. You need to appoint thefollowing personnel:
All the mentioned personnel immediately deal with the UK sponsorship licence management and therefore must be included in the application. Besides, they must advise the Home Office on any alterations in the working process within the prescribed time limits and keep record of all the foreign students accepted for studies. At least one of the level 1 users and the authorising officer must be your employees. The rest of the personnel may be employed by the company offering legal support for your sponsorship licence. All the mentioned positions must be occupied by people who spend most of the time within the UK.
In approximately 4-weeks’ time you will be granted a sponsorship licence and will be able to sponsor for Student visa and Child Student visa, provided that:
Your educational institution will be granted an identification number and included in the register of licensed sponsors. The period of validity of a licence is 4 years. In order not to lose the right to accept foreign students, you must extend your licence before it expires.
For the first time sponsorship is granted to an educator with a probation period. The licence can be withdrawn should the educator fail to fulfill the sponsor responsibilities.
In order to prevent things from going wrong, you can get the support of experienced immigration advisers beforehand. Highly qualified experts of Imperial & Legal have great expertise in the area of obtaining sponsorship licences and supporting immigration into the UK. Our advisers will provide overall support: we can advise you on any issue of obtaining a UK sponsorship licence, help you to make a correct application, make sure that all the supporting evidence is ready and your employees are able to manage the sponsorship licence.
The system of sponsorship licences helps the UK authorities to accomplish several tasks at the same time:
According to the current regulations, every educational institution which has a UK sponsorship licence, must pass a basic compliance assessment by the Home Office every year. You must apply for the procedure to the Home Office via the sponsorship licence management system and pay for it.
A sponsor is responsible for applying in a timely manner. Any attempt to hide any information during the assessment is considered to be a serious breach of sponsor responsibilities and will result in a withdrawal of the licence. Theassessment is based on three figures:
If you failed to pass the assessment and your educational institution has been excluded from the register of licensed sponsors, your adviser will have 20 days to appeal against the decision of the Home Office.
No, those who have left the UK without finishing their studies are not taken into account. Besides, the Home Office does not count the following groups of students:
As the law states, a person on any student visa route who got stuck in such an unpleasant situation has 60 days (or the time before their visa expires, whichever is earlier) to find another sponsor, switch to another visa category or leave the UK. If a student is to blame for the withdrawal of the licence, they must immediately leave the UK.
If students of a closed educational institution have found another education provider, they can keep their visa under 2 conditions:
We will work with you to find a customised solution for your immigration, second citizenship, business, tax and other needs.
Employing foreign nationals
Visas to the UK
UK Skilled Worker Visa