Legally reviewed by: Nisha Leel Updated:

Tier 4 Sponsor Licence

Tier 4 Sponsor

Tier 4 Sponsor Licence

In order to welcome students from overseas, UK universities, schools and other education providers require the appropriate Tier 4 sponsor licence first. Our expert solicitors can help you obtain your sponsor licence and begin attracting talented students from around the world.

As an educator, you must be granted a Tier 4 sponsor licence before you’re allowed to sponsor and welcome foreign students who are going to be studying in the UK on a Tier 4 student visa.

Our business immigration can assess your requirements and eligibility for this type of licence before helping you to apply.

Moving forward we will also be able to assist you with your yearly assessments and help you unlock further possibilities under the Tier 4 sponsor licence program, including the possibility to be granted full privileges or to gain the status of a Highly Trusted Sponsor.

The Purpose of the Tier 4 Sponsor Licence

The Tier 4 sponsorship system is based on the premise that being allowed to sponsor foreign students is a privilege, not a right.

Education providers who benefit from a sponsorship licence have to take responsibility for it. It’s your job to prevent the immigration system from being abused.

By allowing foreign students to temporarily move to the UK under a Tier 4 visa, the system demands that they attend a school or university that is genuinely capable and willing to teach them.

Students who hold a Tier 4 student visa are allowed to study in the UK full-time or part-time for a specific period. The exact amount of time is set by the terms of the visa.

Tier 4 visa holders are often given permission to work a certain number of hours a week in addition to their education. They are also usually allowed to extend their stay and bring dependants with them.

Applying for Your Licence

When you submit your application, the Home Office carries out a range of thorough audit checks. To make sure you are fully prepared we carry out our own selection of equally rigorous pre-audit checks before submitting your application.

By recreating those evaluations we can make sure you are well prepared and fully compliant with UK immigration law.

We will be by your side throughout your sponsor licence application from start to finish. We will take the difficulty out of the application process, helping you on your way to attract new foreign students.

OfS and Educational Oversight

All higher education providers who hope to become a Tier 4 sponsor need to be registered as an approved provider with the Office for Students (OfS) first, as this will ensure the ‘educational oversight’ required to be granted a sponsor licence.

After You are Granted your Tier 4 Sponsor Licence

The Basic Compliance Assessment

After you have been granted your Tier 4 sponsor licence you need to take the Basic Compliance Assessment every 12 months while holding a sponsorship licence. If you don’t apply for your yearly BCA in due time, you will be temporarily removed from the Tier 4 Register of Sponsors. You’ll then have 20 working days to respond to this removal.

During your yearly assessment, your core requirements will be looked at by the assessment team. You need to prove that you have a visa refusal rate of less than 10 percent, an enrolment rate of at least 90 percent and a course completion rate of at least 85 percent.

If you don’t meet these eligibility requirements you risk losing your sponsorship rights.

Becoming Eligible for Full Privileges

When you become eligible to offer the full privileges under a Tier 4 sponsorship licence, you also become eligible to assess prospective students’ English language abilities.

This privilege significantly speeds up application and enrolment processes.

To be eligible to offer these full privileges you need to have passed and held your ‘Basic Compliance Assessment’ (BCA) four consecutive years as a Tier 4 sponsor first.

Becoming a Highly Trusted Sponsor (HTS)

As a school or university offering educational programs to foreign nationals, you have the chance to become a Highly Trusted Sponsor (HTS).

Schools and universities can benefit from this elevated status in a number of ways. HTS institutions are considered better than other education providers, so are therefore more attractive to foreign students.

They are often allowed more freedom when recruiting students, making the process simpler for everyone.

Business Immigration Services

Legal Advice Regarding your Tier 4 Sponsorship Licence

Our expert solicitors offer some of the best education visa advice possible. We are accredited by the Law Society in Immigration and Asylum Law, so you can trust that our services are of the highest standards.

If you would like to discuss the individual needs of your university or school, get in touch with our team of immigration solicitors and we’ll provide the tailored Tier 4 visa sponsor guidance you need to move forward.

We're here for you.