Buckinghamshire New University’s Tier 4 sponsorship license has been suspended, preventing them from accepting new admissions of overseas students from outside the EU; Students sponsored by the University exceeded the visa refusal rate permitted by UK Immigration. In addition the Tier 2 sponsorship license to enable the University to employ professional level workers from outside the EU was also suspended.
Bucks failed to meet Home Office Tier 4 student visa refusal rate target
Bucks University had to meet the previous UK Immigration target for student visa refusals of 20 percent or less. Bucks New University missed hitting the target by just 1.16 percentage points, the equivalent of three students. It is even more difficult now. In November 2014, tougher requirements were implemented with the acceptable Home Office refusal rate threshold being reduced from 20 percent to 10 percent.
Suspension of both Tier 4 and Tier 2 Sponsorship Licences
The suspension of Bucks New Uniiversity’s Tier 4 and Tier 2 sponsorship prevents the University from sponsoring new students and employees from outside the EU. Buckinghamshire New University have 20 days to appeal the suspension by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). However, should the university fail in persuading the Home Office that they should keep their license, their Tier 4 sponsorship license will be revoked.
Staff and student wellbeing
Bucks New University’s vice-chancellor, Rebecca Bunting, said: “Our main concern is the welfare and wellbeing of staff and students. We’re working continuously, along with all other UK universities, to improve our systems and processes in order to comply with a challenging set of sponsorship rules and our senior management team will be cooperating fully with UKVI.”
She added: “We have been given time to check our information against UKVI’s data and that work has commenced.”
Criticism of Tier 4 Sponsorship Licence Requirements
The new lower threshold for visa refusals at ten percent has attracted criticism because, while universities issue Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies to non-EU students accepted by the University, which are subsequently used for the visa application, universities have no real control over visa refusal rates.
Errors on student documentation and Home Office judgements in credibility interviews are two of the decisive factors, among many, which can result in rejection.
A spokeswoman for the Home Office stated: “Universities must ensure they have robust compliance systems in place or risk losing their privilege to sponsor foreign students.
All institutions holding a Tier 4 sponsor license must pass an annual assessment in order to retain the ability to recruit international students. Bucks New University failed to pass this assessment so we have suspended its license.”
Buckinghamshire New University is not the only University that has failed to meet UKVI requirements, Glyndwr University currently faces continuing restrictions on its licence to recruit foreign students from outside the EU amid allegations that hundreds of its students held ‘invalid’ or ‘suspect’ English language qualifications.
Two other universities that had their sponsorship licences suspended are the University of Bedfordshire and the University of West London, which had their licences suspended for a time in June 2014. The good news is that these Universities have now been informed that they can now continue to sponsor overseas students.
UK Tier 4 and Tier 2 Visa Sponsorship License suspended for Bucks
Posted on April 6, 2015