Below is a letter we received from UKBA concerning the introduction of a trial of the electronic application for Tier 4 of the Points Based System (PBS) -for applicants in theUK.
If you are an education provider and would like to get involved, please contact UKBA.
As you may know, the UK Border Agency will soon be introducing a new online application system for students wishing to apply for leave to remain under Tier 4 of the Points Based System (PBS).
Following consultation with Joint Educational Taskforce (JET) members and sponsors we have decided to follow a phased deployment approach. This is to ensure that the system is working in line with expectations before being made available to all users.
Phase One is a trial of the electronic smart form targeted at a small group of users, from 1 October 2012.
Phase Two is the limited introduction of the full online application system targeted at a small group of users, early in 2013.
Phase Three is the full implementation of the online system for all users, in spring 2013.
Phase Four will require all applications to be made online by withdrawal of the paper form. We intend to implement this when we are confident that the new system is working well for you and us.
The first phase will be a trial of a new, electronic smart form from 1 October 2012. We expect the trial will run into early 2013. It will enable us to ensure that the form, which is a critical part of the system for Tier 4 customers, works effectively before we implement the full online system.
The new smart form will ask the customer only the questions that are relevant to their circumstances. It has in-built systems to reduce the risk of making mistakes and also provides question-specific guidance. Customers will access the form via the internet and pay online. Once the form is completed, they will then print it and either post it to us or take it to their appointment at a Public Enquiry Office, depending upon their preferred application method.
To manage the trial effectively, we will open up Phase One to applicants whose sponsor is in the north ofEnglandonly, starting with just two sponsors and gradually increasing to all sponsors across that area (the counties ofCumbria, Merseyside, Lancashire, Greater Manchester,Cheshire, South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, North Yorkshire, Tyne and Wear,Durham, Northumberland,Cleveland, and Humberside).
If you are based in the north ofEngland, we encourage you to take part in the Phase One trial. The details of what this entails and what you need to do to take part can be found at Annex A.
For sponsors based elsewhere in theUK, we would ask that you encourage students to continue to apply using the paper form, so that we can evaluate the new forms effectiveness in a managed way.
This relies on your support by communicating to students who need to apply for further leave after 1 October, that they are encouraged to use the online version if with a sponsor in the north of England or asked to use the paper form if not.
We will communicate to you in Phase One about the more detailed plans for Phases Two, Three and Four closer.
As ever, the UK Border Agency is grateful for your continued support and co-operation. We hope to work in partnership with you to bring about a system that will transform for the better the way applications are made to the UK Border Agency; providing you and your students with a faster, more secure and more efficient system.
Temporary Migration Change Team
For sponsors from the north ofEnglandwho wish to take part in Phase One, the Tier 4 ‘Print & Send trial
What taking part in the trial involves. We ask that you:
- Notify us by return email using this link Tier 4 smart form trial that you wish to take part and to advise how many international students resident in theUKyou anticipate you may sponsor in October, November, December and January respectively
- Agree to start using the form when we ask you to do so, and not before. (between the 1 October and the date specified for you to commence, please continue to use the existing paper form).
- Encourage and assist your students to use the new application when we ask you to.
- Provide us with feedback both positive and constructive and identify any issues as soon as they arise.
Our commitment to you:
- We will contact you as soon as possible to give you your specific start date.
- We will provide you with a written frequently asked questions document to assist you and your students to fill in the form.
- We will provide you dedicated support throughout Phase One via a mailbox and telephone contact.
- We will provide you with updates and help you to resolve any issues should they arise.