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UKBA launch service for universities sponsoring foreign students | Immigration Matters

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The UK Border Agency has launched a new pilot scheme offering universities a range of specialist immigration services, ‘recognising the importance of universities within the higher education sector’.

Dedicated point of contact

Following feedback from the sector, universities will now have a dedicated point of contact within the UK Border Agency as well as access to expert advice and information.

Immigration Minister Damian Green said: ‘British universities are among the greatest in the world – and we want to continue helping them to recruit the brightest and the best students from overseas.

‘We have listened to feedback from the sector and acted, which is why we are bringing forward these improvements. At the same time we are committed to radically reforming the student visa system to weed out abuse and protect the UK from those looking to play the system.’

Tailored for universities

The scheme has been tailored for UK universities, and the UK Border Agency has worked closely with Universities UK in developing the service, which includes:

  • a dedicated account manager
  • training events for universities on topics such as compliance and how to maintain highly trusted sponsor status
  • access to a range of events each year
  • the ability to quickly check whether or not a potential student is eligible to come to the UK
    receipt of a monthly report outlining how many overseas students have taken up the university’s offer to sponsor their study in the UK

If the pilot is successful then the UK Border Agency will consider how the service might benefit other education institutions that sponsor international students. Source: Home Office. 

Private colleges were not mentioned in the announcement, however, similar services were promised to sponsors at UKBA road shows in the pre-launch of the points based system.

The scheme has come a little late for students of suspended London Metropolitan University, where officials have set up a help-line for anxious international applicants – as doubts still hangs over its Tier 4 licence and the right to sponsor overseas students.

With only weeks before term, the currently suspended London Metropolitan University still does not know whether it will be allowed to recruit new or hold on to existing non-EU students on Tier 4 visas.

The university says this lack of certainty has already cost £10m and risks “panic” among students.

See also:

London Metropolitan University sets up helpline for anxious overseas students, as UKBA decides their fate

London Metrolpolitan University’s Tier 4 Sponsors licence to be revoked by UKBA

New Government funded courses available for Bulgarian and Romanian EU students

Parliament take emergency action to save immigration system after court says it has been operating illegally since 2008

Private Tier 4 sponsoring colleges sacrificed in immigration cull

Glasgow Caledonian University gets Tier 4 sponsorship licence back within weeks of suspension

Overseas students trapped in UK visa delays

New visa rules for overseas students ‘will cost billions’ say Universities UK

UKBA confirm changes to the Immigration Rules which start on 6 April 2012

Overseas students should be excluded from UK net migration figures, say MPs

650 Tasmac students stranded as University of Wales accredited college closes

UK Universities claimed £86m for students who had dropped out

If you need any immigration advice or are worried about the new immigration rules or need help with Sponsorship or Tier 2, Tier 4, applying for university if your college has closed down, Visa, ILR, Settlement, Citizenship, Dependant Visa or an appeal against a UK Border Agency or British Embassy refusal, or if you have been waiting for a reply from the Home Office for longer than a year, please email: or visit for free immigration news updates.

Majestic College offer special packages for EU students. They also have a number of employers looking for staff right now and are willing to employ Bulgarians and Romanians.

For more information call Joanna on 0208 207 1020 or email

Overseas students and workers can qualify for a tax refund 

You could qualify for a tax refund if you are an overseas student, work permit holder, Tier 1, Yellow or Blue Card holder – in fact any visa type – even if you are no longer legal or even in the UK!


It doesn’t matter where you come from – UK, Europe or anywhere else in the world, it is important to ensure that your qualifications are recognised. In the UK there is a national agency that carries out this service, they are called UK NARIC.

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