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a new phase for international students

1 February 2010

In March 2009, the government over-hauled the way students from outside the EEA and Switzerland gain entry to study in the UK.  Further to our article in Issue 9 of Education Update, Tier 4 management system: are partnership agreements the answer? the Home Office have announced that phase 4 of this new schemewill go live on the 22nd February. 

Once the fourth phase commences, visa letters will be obsolete and schools who sponsor international students will have to use the sponsorship management system to issue confirmation of acceptance to study.

The new streamlined scheme aims to stop fraudulent applications by students and institutions - with the fees from international students generating £2.5 billion a year there has been huge scope for abuse. 

With much emphasis placed on partnership working in the education sector should schools collaborate and share the administrative burden by joining forces?  This will mean students only need one visa and school will share the administration and costs.  On the other hand, it may lead to issues if one institution omits to fulfil their obligations or fails in their duties meaning both institutions would be held accountable given the singular nature of the application. 

Time will tell whether or not this more onerous system to tighten security will force schools to collaborate given the inevitable issues the scheme will throw their way.

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Mark Blois

Mark Blois

Partner and Head of Education

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