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Highly Trusted Sponsorship for Tier 4 sponsors – new guidance published
05 September 2011
On 18 July we published our proposed criteria to become a Highly Trusted Sponsor under Tier 4 and invited comments.
Following feedback from the education sector, today we are publishing our new guidance which covers:
- Highly Trusted Sponsorship, including the date by which Tier 4 sponsors who are not already highly trusted need to apply for HTS by; what will happen to existing Tier 4 sponsors who do not apply for HTS by the deadline or who do apply and fail; and details of transitional arrangements for sponsors who are not already highly trusted.
- educational oversight, confirming the previously announced detail of the new approach, including a reminder of the date by which applications should be made and to which oversight body; and information Tier 4 sponsors who either do not apply by the specified deadline or who apply and fail to obtain it.
There will also be changes to Tier 4 sponsor ratings. In future we will have 2 ratings only: 'A' rating and Highly Trusted.
These changes are being made as part of the government's reforms of the immigration system to tackle abuse and bring net migration down to sustainable levels. The changes to the student visa system will create a system where every student coming to the UK attends a legitimate course at a legitimate institution. We are also reforming the work route, and change is being planned for the settlement and family routes.
On 13 June, we announced in a separate news story that applications for educational oversight would need to be made to the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) and Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) by Friday 9 September 2011. These bodies have since issued additional guidance on the QAA website and the ISI website. We would like to remind Tier 4 sponsors that those required to apply to the QAA or ISI must do so by this Friday or they will not be able to sponsor new students.
A supplementary announcement on 28 July 2011 confirmed that the Bridge Schools Inspectorate would inspect faith-based private colleges in England and Wales, and that the School Inspection Service would inspect Steiner and Montessori colleges in England and Wales with providers required to apply by a deadline of 7 October. It also confirmed that Education Scotland would inspect privately funded providers in Scotland, with providers required to apply by 11 November. We will confirm the arrangements for educational oversight Northern Ireland on this website in September.
Any registered independent schools and publicly funded colleges will be covered by their statutory inspections and do not need to apply seperately for educational oversight.