Bucks New University’s visa licence suspended
The Home Office have issued new Guidance, following the recent suspicion on 9 March 2015 of the sponsor licence held by Buckinghamshire New University, because its application to renew their Highly Trusted Sponsor (“HTS”) status was refused.
It seems the Home Office are continuing to adopt the ‘big stick’ approach as the suspension took effect immediately and as a result of the HTS application being refused, the university was removed from the Tier 4 and Tier 2 sponsor registers.
In accordance with Home Office Guidance, the university has 20 working days to make representations about the decision to refuse its application to renew its highly trusted sponsor status. Following the consideration of any representations received in this period, if the university still fails to meet the highly trusted sponsor criteria, its licence will be revoked.
Once a licence has been revoked a sponsor can’t make a further application for a sponsor licence until the end of the appropriate cooling off period (either 6 or 12 months) from the date the licence was revoked.
If a sponsor licence application is submitted before this period has passed, it will be refused. The only exception to this is if the licence was revoked in error. If this happens the Home Office will contact the University to make arrangements for it to be reinstated.
The consequences for new Tier 4 students and Tier 2 workers
During the period of suspension, the university can’t sponsor any new Tier 4 students or Tier 2 workers. Their current sponsored migrants, won’t be affected unless they need to apply for an extension and they haven’t already been given a confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) or certificate of sponsorship (CoS).
It would be advisable to ensure you have assigned all CoS’s and CAS’s required for imminent extensions and any visa extension applications are approved, prior to submitting your HTS application, if you suspect the HTS renewal application may have difficulties.
The consequences for existing Tier 4 students and Tier 2 workers
The Guidance doesn’t penalise existing sponsored migrants while the licence is suspended; their visa or leave to remain is still valid and they can continue with their studies or work while the university’s sponsor’s licence is suspended.
If the licence is revoked, Tier 4 and Tier 2 migrants may continue with their studies or work until their visa or leave to remain expires. This is a very different position to the procedure under the previous Guidance which would reduce the length of the permission to stay in the UK to 60 calendar days, to give them a chance to find a new sponsor.
If the University’s sponsored migrant has been issued a Tier 4 or Tier 2 visa but has not yet travelled to the UK
The Home Office advise migrants to not travel to the UK until the Sponsor’s Licence suspension has been resolved. If migrants travel to the UK because they have already booked their flights, they risk being refused entry to the UK on arrival. This refusal will form part of their immigration record which they may have to declare for future visa applications.
If the University has assigned a CAS or CoS and the migrant has applied for their visa or plans to apply for their visa
If the visa application relies on a CAS or a CoS that the University issued before their licence was suspended, the Home Office will accept the application, but will not process it, until the Sponsor’s Licence suspension is resolved.
If the University sponsors a migrant who needs to extend their leave and hasn’t been issued a CAS or CoS
While the university’s licence is suspended, they can’t assign a new CAS or CoS. If any of their sponsored migrant’s leave ends during the suspension period, they may want to find an alternative sponsor or leave the UK to protect their continuous residence.
If the University’s sponsored migrant was overseas when the university’s licence was suspended
If the University’s licence is suspended while their sponsored migrant is overseas and they have a current valid visa, they can return to the UK and continue studying or working (as long as they meet all other immigration requirements).
If you have concerns about your Highly Trusted Status Application and the effect on your Tier 4 and Tier 2 Licence
Feel free to contact Lizama Thahir on 020 7494 0118 to discuss your university’s Highly Trusted Status application and your Sponsorship Licences