Education sponsorship licensing

Before someone can apply to come to, or stay in the UK to study under Tier 4 of the pointsbased system, they must have a sponsor. The sponsor is an education provider that offers courses of study within the UK and has a licence to sponsor migrants so they can take those courses.

Sponsorship:

  • provides evidence that the migrant will study for an approved qualification; and
  • places duties on the sponsor that it must abide by.

A Tier 4 sponsor is an education provider that offers courses of study to full-time students. There are three exceptions.

  • The UK Foundation Programme Office is the sponsor for all students on the two-year foundation programme for postgraduate doctors.
  • The Yorkshire and Humber Strategic Health Authority is the sponsor for all students on the two-year foundation programme for postgraduate dentists.
  • If the student’s programme of study forms part of an overseas degree course and the prospective sponsor in the UK is linked by common ownership or control to the overseas university. In these cases we will ask for proof of those links before we can consider granting a sponsor licence.

Sponsorship is based on two basic principles. They are that:

  • those who benefit most directly from migration (employers, education providers or other bodies that bring in migrants) help to prevent the system being abused; and
  • those applying to come to the UK to work or study are eligible to do so and a reputable employer or education n provider genuinely wishes to take them on.

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