In the latest of a succession of judicial review challenges pursued by institutions whose Tier 4 sponsor licences have been suspended or revoked by UKVI (as it now is), the judiciary has once again confirmed the importance of compliance by sponsors with the duties required of them under the Highly Trusted Sponsor Status (“HTS”) Tier 4 framework as amended from time to time.
The Court summarised the case as being “… one of a number cases arising out of general concerns about the improper manipulation of academic courses to facilitate immigration fraud which was brought to greater public attention by a Panorama programme. The programme was centred on the activities of Educational Testing Services, (“ETS”). This was an institution supposedly granting Test of English for International Communication certificates (“TOEIC”) to non-EEA applicants for places at colleges in the UK. The evidence showed that many such certificates were being granted on a fraudulent basis.”
In upholding the Secretary of State for the Home Department’s (“SSHD”) decision of September 2014 to revoke the Tier 4 licence of London St Andrew’s College with immediate effect, the Court confirmed that “it must be understood that the grant of HTS status is a fragile gift, constant vigilance about compliance is a minimum standard required of such colleges.” The Court went on to state that “The burden of playing an active role in the support of immigration control is a heavy one. The SSHD is entitled to review purported compliance with a cynical level of supervision”.