As noted by the Supreme Court in the cases of New London College and West London Vocational Training College, the Sponsor Guidance has been amended with 'bewildering frequency'. In the latest version of the Tier 4 Sponsor Guidance (version 07/13, which is the third version so far this year), the Home Office introduced a significant change to the HTS mandatory criteria by removing the 100% academic progression requirement. Penningtons queried this with the Home Office as this change was not listed in the 'Principal changes to this version of the guidance' section.

The Home Office has confirmed to Penningtons that the removal of this requirement was intentional and academic progression will no longer form part of the HTS assessment criteria. This said, all Tier 4 sponsors (not just HTS sponsors) need to ensure that they continue to comply with their duties under the Sponsor Guidance as paragraphs 619 of the current Sponsor Guidance states that, if the Home Office finds that a sponsor has assigned a Confirmation of Acceptance of Study (CAS) stating that there is academic progression, but there is no academic progression, it may consider revoking the Sponsor’s licence.