The UK Border Agency has launched the 'Highly Trusted Sponsor Scheme' for education providers under Tier 4 of the points-based system.
Tier 4 sponsors can apply for a Highly Trusted Sponsor licence from today, and the register of highly trusted sponsors will go live on Tuesday 6 April 2010.
Under the UK's points-based system for controlling migration, all sponsors are rated according to their track record and procedures for monitoring overseas students. We are now expanding and building on this rating process.
The new scheme is about immigration control, not academic achievement. To qualify as a highly trusted sponsor, an education provider must have a proven track record in recruiting genuine international students who comply with immigration rules while they are in the UK.
The scheme will cut red tape for sponsors who qualify. It will also allow us to monitor other sponsors more thoroughly, focusing our enforcement activity on those who seek to abuse the system. We will be applying minimum standards for all sponsors; where appropriate, we will suspend or revoke the licences of sponsors who fail to meet these standards.
Compared with other Tier 4 (General) sponsors, a highly trusted sponsor will be able to offer a wider range of courses to overseas students. It will also be offered new services and benefits, such as a dedicated account management function and a more flexible approach to reporting student non-attendance.
The Highly Trusted Sponsor Scheme section of this website contains more information about the scheme's benefits for sponsors, and explains how to apply.