In July 2012, the Home Office introduced a pilot premium sponsorship scheme for universities and some other educational establishments. After considering the pilot to be a success, the Home Office has announced the launch of a premium customer service for Tier 4 sponsors.

The premium customer service is optional and will be open to all Tier 4 sponsors with HTS status for a fee of £8,000. To apply for the premium customer service, Tier 4 Sponsors must meet all of the following requirements:

  • currently have HTS status; and
  • not have been issued with a civil penalty in the past three years, and must have paid in full any civil penalties issued before that.

Tier 4 sponsors will be able to apply on the following dates:

  • 23 July 2013 for account management service pilot sponsors;
  • 2 September 2013 for publicly funded HTS sponsors; and
  • 4 November 2013 for all other HTS sponsors.

Tier 4 Sponsors, who do not sign up for the premium customer service, will be able to use the education helpdesk, which is a free e-mail service providing information on licence and policy queries in a similar way to the Business Helpdesk service currently offered to Tier 2 Sponsors.