Tier 4 guidance documents updated

16 March 2015

In November 2014, changes were made to the Tier 4 guidance documents. We have summarised some of the key changes which took effect from 28 November 2014:

  • New sponsors are required to have at least one Level 1 User of the sponsorship management system who is an employee. It is also recommended as best practice for existing sponsors. Sponsors can continue to appoint additional Level 1 Users from third party organisations.

  • UKVI has introduced new mandatory and discretionary powers to refuse and revoke a sponsor licence.

  • Offences for dishonesty, which will result in an application for a sponsorship licence being refused, means theft, corruption, deception and fraud.

  • UKVI has the discretion to review a sponsor’s CAS (Certificate of Acceptance of Study) allocation throughout the allocation year.

  • UKVI has clarified that it may reduce a sponsor’s CAS allocation to zero if:

    • A sponsor does not comply, or the UKVI has reason to believe it is not complying, with its sponsorship duties.

    • A sponsor downsizes to a level where their existing CAS allocation is no longer justified.

    • UKVI believes the sponsor or its students are a threat to immigration control.

    • UKVI becomes aware that the sponsor has a prosecution for a relevant offence pending.

  • UKVI has clarified that, for the purposes of calculating a sponsor’s refusal rate (which affects its Highly Trusted Sponsor status [see the article in our November update]), a CAS is ‘used’ when it has been submitted in support of an application for leave to enter or remain, and that application has been decided.

  • Any sponsor who has concerns about students working illegally in the UK or are otherwise in breach of their conditions must report those concerns to the UKVI in line with its duties as a sponsor.

  • In circumstances where a student defers their studies, a sponsor may continue to sponsor that student for up to 60 days provided it can continue to carry out its sponsorship duties and the student will be able to complete their course within their existing period of leave once they resume their studies. If a sponsor thinks that the student will not resume their studies after 60 days, sponsorship must be withdrawn.

Education establishments who hold a Tier 4 sponsor licence are advised to review the sponsorship guidance documents, which can be found here so that they are fully up-to-date with their duties and obligations.

By Joanna Lada-Walicki

For further advice, please call us on 01483 543210 or alternatively email