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Sponsorship Licence - Highly Trusted Sponsor Scheme


Applying for Highly Trusted Sponsor Licence for Tier 4 of the Points Based System.


What is the Highly Trusted Sponsorship Scheme?


Highly Trusted Sponsor Scheme

. The Highly Trusted Sponsor category is a new developed element of existing sponsor licence scheme with a view to identify and reward current Tier 4 sponsors who can demonstrate greatest compliance with their sponsor obligations and high student compliance with the terms of their visa, with additional benefits and flexibility.

. Once granted Highly Trusted Sponsor Licence status your organisation will benefit from additional freedoms and an offer of new services in recognition of previous track record and general good compliance.
. Highly trusted Sponsors continue to be required to meet their sponsorship obligations as detailed in the UK Border Agency's published Highly Trusted criteria throughout the period that they are so licensed.

What are the benefits of becoming a Highly Trusted Sponsor?


. Highly Trusted Sponsors are given the ability to offer wider range of courses below degree level as;

(i) National Qualifications Framework (NQF) level 3 courses or equivalent
(ii) Below degree level courses ( Not foundation degrees ) "which include work placements"
. Additional certificates of Acceptance for studies may be issued for further re sits - for students who have already had up to 2 re sits - with a requirement that this re issue is approved only after a review by the internal panels and boards who authorise such re sits in exceptional cases.

. Further flexibility with reporting student non-attendance like; Ability to undertake minimum two further re-registrations evenly spaced throughout the academic year but report withdrawals - within 10 days, also;
1. Availability of the new account manager from the UK Border Agency
2. Reporting non-enrolments - within 10 days
3. Reporting student withdrawals from their studies - within 10 days


What criteria must an organisation meet to qualify?


. Your organisation must have been an A rated sponsor at the time of application for the tiers they hold a licence and must have held the licence for 6 months

. Your organisation must have compliant student recruitment schemes demonstrating that only genuine students are accepted and issued with confirmation of acceptance for studies

. A sponsor must be without civil penalties in the preceding three years - any prior ones must have been fully paid

. A sponsor must have systems in place that minimizes the volume of refusal of leave for migrant students applying with a certificate of acceptance for studies

. A sponsor must demonstrate it has thorough vetting schemes before granting certificate of acceptance for studies to reduce abuse by those who apply but have no intention to study

(i) UB Border Agency expects no more than 2% of approved migrant students with visas to enter or remain in the UK at your institution to have not enrolled within 1 month of the course commencing

. Your organisation must reasonably ensure that all students sponsored attend and complete their course of study. Examples of cumulative measures applied by the UK Border Agency;

1. No more than 1% of students must cease their course within 33% of the course duration
2. No more than 2% of students must cease their course within 66% of the course duration
3. No more than 3% of students enrolled on their course fail to complete
. No more than 5% of all sponsored migrant students granted visas ( UK and overseas ) who entered the UK must have failed to enrol or complete their course

. A sponsor must demonstrate strict attendance or progression monitoring of its sponsored migrant students in compliance with published sponsor duties/accreditation requirements

. The UKBA must not have any serious concerns raised following its inspections in the preceding 12 months


Pre-sessional courses and partner institutions, how does it affect the application?


Pre-sessional courses are offered to particular students to assist them brush up skills required on their main course of study. Pre-sessional courses may be provided either by your organisation - once permitted to - or your partner institution that may be independent.

. A pre-sessional course provider may be named on your application

. A pre-sessional course provider may be a sponsor in their own right

. A pre-sessional course provider partner, if not a sponsor, must fully meet the eligibility criteria for Tier 4 sponsor.

. If your organisation does not sponsor pre-sessional courses, your partner organisation must become a Highly Trusted Sponsor to offer pre-sessional courses with certificate of acceptance for studies for National Qualifications Framework (NQF) level 3 and or equivalent.


How does the UK Border Agency consider an application?


. Extensive checks would be conducted by the UK Border Agency to ensure that your organisation has a proven track record of compliance with sponsorship duties, for example;

(i) Cross referencing all information on visas and leave to remain received in your application with records held at the UK Border Agency
(ii) Thorough checks on the UK Border Agency warning systems
(iii) Reviewing record of movement activity for students entry and exit in and out of the United Kingdom
(iv) On site visit from an official of the UK Border Agency as part of consideration process

. Once satisfied the UK Border Agency would approve your application. Your organisation will receive a welcome pack from the UK Border Agency and your organisation will be published on the UK Border Agency's website on the list of Highly Trusted Sponsors Register. A designated account manager's details would be forwarded with a proposed contact to discuss your matter and arrange suitable review dates.


What is the duration of a Highly Trusted Sponsor Licence?


The Highly Trusted Sponsor Licence is valid for 12 months and renewable upon expiry. The UK Border Agency will send out a reminder to renew each licence but the responsibility for renewal is squarely with your organisation.
Wise Step would conduct follow up audit to assess compliance status, identify compliance issues and advice on the compliant status of your organisation and would advice on systems that need to be implemented or amended to ensure an A rating is granted by the UK Border Agency, of your application. Wise Step would prepare your application to the best attainable standard with precise advice on the merits of your case thereby assuring you of its approval by the decision maker.