Today’s post will take a closer look at compliance visits that may be expected as a Tier 4 sponsor.

Compliance officers from the UKBA may visit at any time to check that a sponsor is performing as required under the Tier 4 guidance and terms of sponsorship. UKBA statistics suggest that around 50% of all visits will be unannounced and will not necessarily be due to specific concerns about the institution’s compliance.  It is therefore highly advisable for all sponsors to be prepared at any time to demonstrate that they are observing UKBA’s required standards. Those Tier 4 sponsors who are given warning of a visit should thoroughly scrutinise their systems and sponsored student data beforehand in order to best prepare for the compliance visit.

Institutions are required under the Tier 4 regime to cooperate fully with the UKBA, which will include allowing access on demand. Compliance officers may also wish to speak to those involved in recruiting and enrolling students, as well as sponsored students themselves. A spreadsheet of student details and attendance will often be examined and checks undertaken to ensure that suitability criteria are still fulfilled, systems are sufficient and minimum levels of study and English are being observed.

A finding of non-compliance could lead to suspension or revocation of an institution’s Tier 4 licence, or alternatively a reduction in the number of CASs that they are permitted to assign.  More tomorrow on suspension and revocations of licences in the final part of our special focus on student immigration.