The United Kingdom Border Agency ("UKBA") yesterday issued a revised version of its guidance for Tier 4 sponsors under the immigration points based system. The revised guidance has been issued following a consultation which took place over the summer.

A number of changes have been made to the guidance concerning criteria for attaining highly trusted sponsor status, including the introduction of "mandatory requirements" eg a refusal rate of less than 20% and an enrolment rate of at least 90%.

If an institution does not meet one or more of the mandatory requirements, its application for highly trusted sponsor status will be refused and, in the case of a re-application, its licence will be revoked.

In addition, the revised guidance sets out what will happen to existing Tier 4 sponsors who do not apply for highly trusted sponsor status by the deadline and details of transitional arrangements for sponsors who do not already have highly trusted sponsor status. It will be interesting to see the impact of these amendments moving forward.