The Home Office plans to introduce a range of changes to its IT systems, including changes to the sponsorship management system (SMS) on 1 July 2013. These changes include the introduction of an online application and renewal process for HTS status. The existing paper application form and payment by cheque will no longer be accepted as of 10 June 2013.

The reason for the interval between 10 June 2013 and 1 July 2013 is to allow the Home Office time to transfer data onto SMSs. Therefore, any paper applications received on or after 10 June 2013 will be rejected and payment will not be collected. If a Tier 4 sponsor submits a paper application and it is rejected, the sponsor will have to reapply using the online application form on the SMS after 1 July 2013.

Transitional provisions

Normally, Tier 4 sponsors would be able to apply to renew their HTS status up to 28 days before the expiry date. Tier 4 sponsors whose HTS status is due to expire after 10 June but prior to 1 July 2013 should have received an email from the Home Office inviting them to submit their HTS renewal applications now to be received by the Home Office before 10 June 2013. As long as a Tier 4 sponsor’s HTS status renewal application is received before 10 June 2013, the application will be decided as usual.

For those sponsors whose HTS status is due to expire between 10 June and 1 July 2013 and who are unable to make paper applications before 10 June, the Home Office will be allowing them an extension of time until 15 July 2013 to submit their HTS renewal via the SMS. If a Tier 4 sponsor then fails to apply to renew its HTS status by the extension date of 15 July 2013, the sponsor’s HTS status will expire and its Tier 4 licence can be revoked.

Sponsors who are impacted by this change should check to see if they have received confirmation from the Home Office.