Last week, we blogged that the Government’s changes to Tier 4, the Student category, will come into force from 21 April 2011. A Statement of Intent was published by the Government outlining the details of the changes to the Immigration Rules.
The Government has proposed to introduce an Interim Limit on the number of Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS) that can be issued by Tier 4 Sponsors (educational institutions with a Tier 4 licence), that are both not subject to the public system of inspection, audit or review and have Highly Trusted Sponsor status. This limit will apply from 21 April 2011 until 5 April 2012 and the limit will equal the number of CAS that the Sponsor assigned and which were used in Tier 4 applications during the period 1 March 2010 and 28 February 2011. The limit will not apply to independent schools, the Foundation Programme Officer, the Yorkshire and Humber Strategic Health Authority or to Tier 4 Sponsors who apply for a Sponsor Licence on/after 21 April 2011 and who are subject to the public system of inspection, audit or review.
Where an institution did not have a Tier 4 Sponsor Licence during the period 1 March 2010 to 28 February 2011, or only had a licence for part of this period, the UKBA will determine the number of CAS that will be available taking into account the allocation that an institution received when the licence was granted and/or the number of CAS that was assigned and used by Tier 4 Migrants.
These changes will affect Sponsors that operate within the private further and higher education sectors. English language schools and colleges will also be caught by the Tier 4 Interim Limit. The effects of the Interim Limit could be particularly damaging to new and existing educational institutions; the Government’s plans could be seen as yet another attempt to significantly reduce net migration without considering the financial strain on businesses around the UK