As part of our special focus on the key provisions of the UKBA guidance for Tier 4 sponsors, we review today sponsors’ duties in respect of reporting various student activity to the UKBA .
To assist the UKBA in its objective of managing effectively student immigration, the UKBA places sponsors under a duty to inform the UKBA if:
- students do not arrive for their course - either following a refusal of entry clearance or leave to remain, or where leave is granted but the student fails to enrol;
- students are absent without permission for a significant period;
- they leave their course earlier than expected; or
- the sponsor asks the student to leave the course.
Failure by students to enrol on their course within the relevant enrolment period must be reported to the UKBA within 10 working days. The report to the UKBA should include any reason given by the student for not enrolling in accordance with the relevant timeframe; for example, that the student is said to have missed their flight.
Student absence for a significant period also gives rise to a reporting requirement. For highly trusted sponsors, two checkpoints should be made within any rolling 12 month period. If students have missed 10 consecutive contacts without being given permission, the sponsor must report details of those concerned to the UKBA. For A-rated sponsors, where a student misses 10 consecutive expected contacts, this must be reported to the UKBA within 10 working days of the tenth missed contact. Expected interactions include lessons, tests, coursework and meetings with supervisors or personal tutors.
A similar reporting obligation applies in respect of students who finish their studies earlier than expected, for example, where a student withdraws from their course, or the student has been excluded.
The UKBA must also be informed within 10 working days if sponsors stop sponsoring students for any other reason.
It is possible that a student's circumstances may change during the course of their studies. If this is a "significant change of circumstances", the UKBA must be informed within 10 working days. Examples of serious changes of circumstance given by the UKBA include if the location where the student is studying changes, or the student changes course. This would also be relevant where there is any activity taking place that suggests that a sponsored student is breaching the terms of their permission to stay in the UK.
Because of the relatively short timeframe for making reports to the UKBA, it is essential that sponsors have in place effective systems for ensuring that information is reported quickly by all relevant divisions of an institution to enable an appropriate report to be made to the UKBA within the specified period. The record keeping processes discussed in yesterday's blog post will be of assistance to sponsors in maintaining the necessary flow of information.