The Home Office have recently updated their temporary concession advice for Tier 4 Sponsors on 20th April 2020 and are set to apply until 31st May 2020 and to be reviewed thereafter.
Due to a relaxation of Sponsor duties, there is no need to report any student absences that are related to coronavirus, need to isolate and inability to travel due to restrictions. Sponsors also do not need to withdraw their sponsorships if a student is unable to attend for any of these reasons for more than 60 days.
The Coronavirus lockdown measures have resulted in many educational institutions conducting online classes in order to avoid interruption with their programmes. For those students that are taking part in online learning either within the UK or outside, sponsors are not required to report this distance learning. For new students that have been issued their Tier 4 visas but have not yet been able to travel to the UK because of the travel restrictions and are undertaking distance learning, their sponsorships do not need to be withdrawn. On the other hand, new students that have not yet applied for their visa but wish to partake distance learning provided from an educational institution within the UK do not require sponsorship under Tier 4 as they do not need to travel to the UK. Be that as it may, students can still apply for their Tier 4 visas and applications will not automatically be refused due to the start date changing on the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies. This will be considered on a case by case basis.
For applicants that have submitted a Tier 4 visa application but have not yet received a decision, educational institutions that are Tier 4 Sponsors can permit these students to commence their studies as long as:
- A Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies has been assigned to the student
- The visa application was submitted before the expiry of their previous visa
- The start date remains the same as stated on the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies
- If it is a requirement of the course, the student should have a valid Academic Technology Approval Scheme Certificate. New applications for this certificate are currently not being accepted. The Foreign & Commonwealth Office will only process applications submitted before 6th April 2020.
The sponsor’s reporting responsibility will commence from the date the Certificate of Acceptance for Studies is issued. If the Home Office eventually reject the application, the Sponsor must terminate the student’s studies immediately.
If you have any queries relating to Tier 4 visa applications or Sponsor duties during this time, please fill out the enquiry form on the ‘Contact Us’ tab.