We advise higher and further education providers, English language centres and independent schools and are regarded as having ‘an unparalleled reputation in the sponsor licensing sphere‘ (The Legal 500).
Working with numerous organisations, including UKCISA, ICN, London Higher, Independent HE, British Council, English UK, AISA, StudyWorld, the Independent Schools Council, the Boarding Schools’ Association and Westminster Higher Education Forum, on key issues affecting the sector, we are often invited to speak at conferences and/or provide high level training in addition to our regular client work.
Our clients are based across the UK and benefit from our unique contacts within the Home Office, our ability to resolve potential issues at an early stage, our discreet approach and our highly competitive pricing structure.
Sponsor licence, post study work and visitor related issues
We can support you on all the various steps that your organisation will need to take as a sponsor and advise you on the most effective way to apply for, structure and operate your sponsor licence(s).
Our work typically covers the following areas:
- student sponsor licence application preparation and maintenance
- sponsorship and visa support for students
- advice on the child safeguarding rules relating to sponsorship
- measures you can lawfully take to minimise refusals, including those arising under the credibility interviews system
- advice on the annual Basic Compliance Assessment
- procedures that will be regarded as reasonable by UKVI for conducting immigration status checks and monitoring attendance
- advice on sales and acquisitions and navigating the 12 month post-purchase probationary period
- post study work options for your students
- the rules on course offerings, including pre-sessional courses, and work placements
- structuring the licences in relation to partnerships and sites
- the various visitor categories
- Tier 2 or Tier 5 sponsor licence issues.
Training, compliance reviews, preparation for UKVI audits and strategic advice
We provide bespoke training and compliance reviews, and preparation for UKVI audits, for education providers holding a student sponsor licence and, where appropriate, Tiers 2 and 5 licences. Subject to your needs, this may involve:
- an intensive on-site or remote training session with your team
- a partner-led on-site or remote compliance review of your systems, procedures, files, risk profile and any specific areas you are concerned about
- mock interviews to prepare for UKVI audits
- a review of your course offerings and partners
- advice on measures you can adopt immediately to begin to minimise risk
- recommendations as to steps you can take to enhance buy-in from across the organisation
- a review of compliance with the OISC Code where your organisation is providing immigration advice and services.
At the beginning we will spend time discussing your specific needs and priorities and we will tailor our service accordingly. In line with our overall approach to legal costs, our pricing structure for on-site training and compliance reviews is competitive and transparent.
Sponsor licence suspensions, revocations and other enforcement action
We have substantial experience advising clients that are subject to UKVI enforcement action and investigations and have persuaded UKVI on numerous occasions to allow sponsors threatened with enforcement action to retain their licences.
If your organisation is affected, we will be on hand to advise you on the legal options and risks, make recommendations, negotiate on your behalf and prepare representations. We can also help you with brand protection and media strategies.
If you are aware that your refusal rate is higher than permitted, or may be higher by the time you submit your annual Basic Compliance Assessment application, we recommend that you take proactive action and this may include instructing us to approach the Home Office on your behalf before the application is submitted.
We have created strong relationships with other leading lawyers who work with education providers. If you need help on any other areas of law we can introduce you to the best legal team for that particular issue. If it’s easier for you, we can also instruct them on your behalf leaving you to focus on other things.
We frequently liaise with senior officials at the Home Office and and this enables us to continue to influence key decision makers about issues that are important to UK education providers and businesses.