We have recently forced UKBA to provide written clarification in relation to a number of scenarios where migrants are found to be studying in the UK and where UKBA officers have sought to impose sanctions against the tier 4 sponsor's status.
We have successfully resolved instances where the UKBA has attempted to take revocation action against a tier 4 sponsor where it has come across students who hold general or business visitor status. The law, which is clear, states that providing a visitor does not come to the UK intending to study, it is not unlawful for them to subsequently decide to enrol on a course of study during their visit to the UK. Often visitors come to the UK for cultural reasons and decide when they are here, to take formal classes in subjects which may range from cookery classes to formal diving tuition to language lessons. It is perfectly lawful for them to make these decisions and enrol on such courses.
We have come across other instances where the UKBA has stated that Bulgarian and Romanian nationals may not study here, unless they have a tier 4 visa. This is again inaccurate. As members of the European Union, Bulgarian and Romanian nationals, along with nationals from all other European Union member countries, enjoy the right of free movement across Europe and have a right to study in the UK. Bulgarian and Romanian nationals are of course presently subject to some restriction against accessing the UK's employment market.
Educational establishments do not require a tier 4 licence to teach students who do not require sponsorship, such as those we have highlighted above. Those that do possess a tier 4 licence are not in breach of their sponsor duties if they enrol such students.