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Information for Sponsors


Under the new Points based system (PBS) all applicants in Tiers 2-5 will need to provide a certificate of sponsorship from an approved sponsor when applying.

If you are a potential sponsor such as a colleges or an employer, you will need to apply for a licence from the Home Office which will allow you to then issue certificates of sponsorship. The applicant will still have to apply for entry clearance. The idea is that the certificate of sponsorship will provide an implied assurance that they are able to follow a course of study/do a job, and intend to do so. This should make the application process simpler and more objective. The Home Office, however, are clear that there are no guarantees of entry clearance and that all documents provided will be independently verified by them.

Applying for a licence

You will need to satisfy the requirements of the particular tier in which you sponsor migrants by providing required evidence to the Home Office and undergoing history checks.

One requirement of private education providers is that they must now obtain accreditation from an approved body.

Currently only employers seeking to employ migrants under Tier 2 of the PBS can apply for a licence. Full details for how this can be done can be found at:

Responsibilities of Sponsors

In return for the ability to issue certificates of sponsorship sponsors will have considerable responsibilities.

Sponsors will have to comply with duties in relation to informing the Home Office of any non-compliance, for example, a student not attending their course. Sponsors must also keep records including contact details and eventually migrant’s biometric ID cards.

Sponsors will be monitored by the Home Office through random visits and review points.

Sponsors will be rated as A or B. Sponsors will be rated A most of the time but may be down graded if they fail to comply with their duties and are to be regarded as high risk. They will then have a limited time to comply with an action plan to return to their A-rating, or may risk losing their licence for continued non-compliance. There is also talk of introducing civil penalties for certain offences.

Accreditation of education providers

The Home Office is more keen than ever to ensure that all educational institutions are bona fide and have introduced an accreditation requirement. Their stated aims are to increase the trust that can be placed in the sponsorship system particularly by entry clearance posts and to reduce the need for investigations into suspect institutions. They also hope that the standard of education given to migrants will be improved.

Accreditation a Requirement of a sponsorship licence

In order to be able to obtain a sponsor’s licence, the Home Office has deemed that, in addition to being on the DIUS Register of Education Providers (REP), private education institutions not covered by the system of public reviews conducted by Ofsted, must obtain accreditation from an approved body.

The Home Office have recently announced which accreditation bodies are approved and they include: Accreditation UK, British Accreditation Council and ASIC. In some cases where capacity issues arise direct inspections may be carried out by Ofsted.

There are very few exceptions to this requirement other than a limited consession for overseas HEIs with short term study programmes in the UK.

If you have further questions please contact Adam Reid on 0845 388 9623

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