On 29 July 2014, the Home Office announced a new policy introducing tougher rules for universities and colleges to receive a ‘highly trusted sponsor’ status.
According to the current rules, the ‘highly trusted sponsor status’ is granted to universities and colleges if not more than 20 per cent of students are refused their visa applications. From November, when the new policy comes into effect, this figure will be cut to 10 per cent.
As an example, if one out of nine visa applications is refused the educational institution will lose its ‘highly trusted sponsor’ status. This will result in the sponsor licence first being suspended and subsequently revoked. During the suspension the current students will be unable to renew their visas and no new students can be sponsored. When the licence is revoked the institution will lose its right to sponsor international students for 6 months after which period it can reapply for a new sponsor licence. The suspension and/or revocation of sponsor licence can have significant financial and reputational impact.
Sponsors should therefore review their current policies and practices in order to meet the new stringent requirements and minimise the risks. Redfern Legal can offer practical and solution driven assistance on this matter.