Tier 4 sponsors will be aware that the guidance states that an additional Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS) can be assigned to a Tier 4 student to undertake further study at a lower level, but the Home Office expects such cases to be rare. The current Immigration Rules, however, currently state that a CAS will only be valid if the student's new course of study is either above the level of the previous course for which the individual was granted leave as a Tier 4 (General) Student or as a Student or if it will involve further study at the same level, which the Tier 4 Sponsor confirms as complementing the previous course for which the individual was granted leave as a Tier 4 (General) Student or as a Student.

The immigration rules therefore do not allow Tier 4 students to study at a lower level as per the Tier 4 sponsor guidance.

Penningtons raised this point with the Home Office policy team, which confirmed the immigration rules are correct and that the guidance is likely to change in October this year in order to reflect the Rules. Therefore, sponsors who occasionally assign CASs as per the Tier 4 Guidance need to be aware that, under the immigration rules, this is not permitted.