UKBA Tier 4 Sponsor Requirements and Obligations. Sarah Linton, July 2013 Locke Lord (UK) LLP 201 Bishopsgate London EC2M 3AB. Introduction. UKBA is taking a hard line with Tier 2 (employees) and Tier 4 (students) sponsors
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Verify the student’s suitability to be sponsored for the courses
Comply with record keeping duties for sponsored students. Documents that must be held on sponsored students’ files (either physically or electronically) are listed in UKBA guidance document Appendix D
Adhere to reporting duties via Sponsor Management System. Must report most events (see below) in 10 working days
Ensure that any changes to the key licence personnel are reported to UKBAe.g. change in Authorising Officer
Monitor sponsored students’ attendance and academic progress
You must tell UKBA if anything you have reported through the sponsorship management system is incorrect and why it is incorrect
You must retain information in your own records about any appeal which a student makes against refusal of leave decisions. If a student’s appeal is successful and leave is granted, you must tell UKBA if his/her start date is delayed and provide a new enrolment date
You must give UKBA details of any third party, in the UK or another country, that helped the institution to recruit international students. [Note: UKBA may contact these agents as part of the audit process.]
*Note: If sponsor reports these events, it must also report the last recorded residential address and contact number of students.
In general, time spent on work placement cannot exceed:
Must continually monitor student attendance and identify when a student has missed 10 consecutive expected contacts
Must inform UKBA if a student does not attend 10 consecutive expected contacts and you have withdrawn sponsorship as a result
What counts as “contact”?
Examples of expected student contact:
1. Attending formal academic or pastoral care activities including:
3. Registration (for enrolment or matriculation)
If a student misses 10 consecutive expected contacts without permission, sponsor must tell UKBA within 10 working days of the 10th missed contact that it intends to withdraw sponsorship of the student
Sponsorship duties aim to:
prevent sponsors abusing UKBA’sprocess for assessing them;
quickly find and address any patterns of student behaviour that may cause concern;
address weak processes which can cause those patterns; and
monitor sponsors’ and students’ compliance with immigration rules.
Sponsors therefore have an overriding duty to spot and report to UKBA any patterns of absence by students (e.g. patterns of absence by a student for lectures/ seminars even though he/she regularly turns up for mid-term registration).
Ensure no student is allowed to study if she/he does not have leave to remain
Establish checkpoint/re-registration to verify up to date student’s contact information and course attendance
Consider setting up electronic signing-in/swipe card facilities at entrance to lecture theatres, tutorial rooms, etc.
Consider asking students to sign attendance sheet for each lecture, seminar, lesson, tutorial, etc.
Maintain evidence of English language testing
Consider conducting independent audit checks regularly
Make sure all sponsored student files contain all Appendix D documentation
Implement a student attendance policy
Monitor student attendance during placements (consider setting up a placement team that reports to the university on a regular basis)
In cases of non-attendance, need to send warning letters to students
Require students to attend an urgent meeting if no records of attendance are seen after warning letter or if there are series of attendance issues
Sarah Linton is a Partner in the London office and Head of the UK Employment Practice.
Her practice encompasses all aspects of employment law, including employment contracts, termination agreements, disputes, European and domestic works councils, strategic European HR issues, employment aspects of international transactions, data protection and privacy matters, employment litigation including unfair dismissal, wrongful termination, discrimination claims and bonus disputes.
Sarah also advises on business-related immigration law. Sarah regularly contributes to legal and other publications on employment law-related subjects, in particular on the transfer of undertakings (TUPE).