The Tier 4 Sponsor Guidance has, for many months, stated that Tier 4 sponsors that are required to register with the Office for Students (OfS) must do so by 1 August 2019.
Tier 4 sponsors that are registered with the OfS and have established a track record of compliance, as defined by UKVI, will be able to benefit from a range of privileges. Further information on this can be found in Document 4 of the Tier 4 Sponsor Guidance.
UKVI’s position as set out in the Sponsor Guidance is that sponsors that need to register with the OfS, (according to the OfS’ regulatory framework, but have not done so by 1 August 2019 may have their CAS reduced to zero and could potentially become a Legacy Sponsors.
We are aware that some sponsors have submitted applications to the OfS which are still being considered, and others are yet to submit applications. There is therefore a great deal of concern amongst many sponsors as to what the position will be on 1 August 2019.
The Home Office’s current position
In response to a query we raised about this, the Home Office’s policy team has this week provided the following information to us:
‘Some sponsors have expressed concerns about meeting the 1 August deadline for registering with the OfS. However, there are no plans to extend the deadline set out in the policy, as this is the date that the OfS regulations, and the Immigration Rules changes which support the HE Reform changes, come into effect. Any instances in which a sponsor is unable to meet the 1 August deadline will be considered on a case by case basis, taking account of the reasons why the deadline wasn’t met and the extent to which any delay was outside the control of the sponsor. Any sponsors in that situation should notify UKVI as soon as possible if it becomes apparent that they won’t meet the deadline, setting out the causes of the delay, so that operational colleagues can consider the full circumstances of their case.
Relevant factors which will be considered include, but are not limited to, whether:
- the sponsor has applied to the OfS to register by the 15 May deadline set out in guidance – this is a key factor;
- the sponsor responded promptly to any information requests from the OfS;
- there are any other compliance concerns regarding the sponsor.’
Tier 4 sponsors that need to be registered with the OfS but are unlikely to be by 1 August 2019 should take note of the above. We expect UKVI to take a reasonable approach but it is important that sponsors set out their position to UKVI.
Further information and assistance
If you require further information or assistance on this issue, please contact us.