Penningtons Manches' immigration team considers new changes to the Tier 4 Sponsor Guidance

Posted: 13/12/2013


The Home Office has recently published new Tier 4 Sponsor Guidance, version 12/13. This guidance is to be used by all prospective and existing Tier 4 sponsors from 11 December 2013. Changes include:

  • The compliance action, which will be taken against a sponsor if it fails to apply for HTS after it has held its licence for 12 months or failed to apply to renew it before it expires.
  • A new paragraph reflects the educational oversight position with Ofsted, confirming that Ofsted does not cover privately funded provision. The provision for Tier 4 students receiving further education and training in England and who are 16 and over must be covered by one of the bodies listed at previous paragraph 68.
  • The Joint Venture Agreements-related subparagraphs have been re-inserted. The Home Office has confirmed that these were omitted in error during the October guidance release. 
  • A Tier 4 sponsor can provide pre-sessional courses with a partner institution which does not hold a Tier 4 licence, providing the Tier 4 sponsor is an Independent School.
  • A reminder to sponsors that, even if a sponsor has not issued a CAS within the last 12 months, it will retain its current status (providing it meets the remaining mandatory criteria); however, it must still submit an HTS application within the normal timescales.
  • Clarification on when it is appropriate to issue a single CAS and makes it clear that, if one CAS has been issued and the student does not reach B2 level English by the end of the pre-sessional course, that sponsorship should be withdrawn.
  • A sentence clarifying the Home Office’s timescales for notifying the sponsor of a decision, ie within 28 days, has been re-inserted.  

The immigration team are reviewing the current Tier 4 Guidance in detail and will report further on any significant changes.

Since December last year, there have now been six versions of the Tier 4 Sponsor Guidance alone; it is therefore imperative that Tier 4 sponsors ensure that they remain up-to-date their obligations and responsibilities under the Home Office’s sponsor licence scheme. Tier 4 sponsors are reminded that the Home Office has the right to make announced as well as unannounced visits to a sponsor’s premises to conduct a compliance audit.

If you have any queries about the Tier 4 sponsor licence scheme or would like for Penningtons Manches LLP’s immigration team to conduct a Home Office-style audit for you, please contact Pat Saini.


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