If you are an education provider and want to provide courses for students from overseas, you will need to obtain a Student Sponsor Licence from the Home Office.
An education provider can apply for a Sponsor Licence for two distinct categories:
- Student – for students aged 16 or over who come to the UK for further or higher education; and
- Child Student – for students aged between 4 and 17 who come to the UK to be educated at an independent school.
Holding a Student Sponsor Licence places a significant amount of trust and responsibility on the sponsoring education provider. The Home Office must therefore be satisfied that the education provider is both suitable and eligible before granting a Student Sponsor Licence.
It will consider, among other things, whether:
- the provider meets its student educational oversight requirements;
- the provider has policies and processes in place that enable it to meet its sponsor duties;
- key personnel have complied with the Immigration Rules and sponsor guidance; and
- the provider has complied with the Immigration Rules and sponsor guidance in the past.
When applying for a Student Sponsor Licence for the first time, the sponsoring education provider must first show the Home Office that it can fulfil its sponsorship duties before it is given full Student Sponsor status. The sponsoring education provider becomes a Probationary Sponsor when it is first granted a licence. A Probationary Sponsor can then apply for its annual Basic Compliance Assessment and, assuming its passes the assessment, will be given Student Sponsor status.
A Student Sponsor Licence is valid for four years from the date it is granted and must renewed by the sponsoring education provider before it expires. If it is not renewed before it expires, the sponsoring education provider will not be allowed to continue sponsoring existing students or to recruit new students.
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