The UK Border Agency (UKBA) has recently launched a new “Tier 4 Premium Customer Service” which is aimed at “educational institutions who want a premium level of customer service and package of benefits.”
Tier 4 sponsors will be eligible to apply for the new service if they:
- have highly trusted sponsor (HTS) status; and
- have not been issued with a civil penalty in the last 3 years and any civil penalties received prior to the preceding three year period have been paid in full.
The service costs £8,000 per annum and is being implemented on a staggered basis with applications being accepted from the following dates for the different categories of sponsor:
Account management service (AMS) pilot sponsors: Tuesday 23 July 2013
Publicly funded highly trusted sponsors: Monday 2 September 2013
Highly trusted sponsors (HTS): Monday 4 November 2013
In order to use the service, sponsors should check their eligibility and then apply online through their Sponsorship Management System (SMS) account.
What benefits does the new service offer?
- A named account manager and senior account manager. The account manager will act as a direct point of contact for sponsors to whom they can direct any enquiries or problems, between the hours of 8am to 6pm on weekdays. The senior account manager will be responsible for the quality of the service provided and will be available for annual visits.
- Priority treatment on post-licence casework. Requests made through the SMS will be actioned within 10 working days rather than the standard 4 week period for completion.
- Monthly reports on Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies allocations and the outcome of student visa applications.
- Student eligibility checks. With the consent of the student in question, within 5 working days the Home Office will provide sponsors with information about the student”s immigration history to assist with deciding their eligibility for Tier 4.
To read more about the scheme and how to apply, please visit the UKBA website.