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THE UK: Visa Guides

What to do when a UK university loses its visa sponsor licence?

Has your UK university lost its sponsorship licence suddenly? It can happen but don't panic! Read our guide to what to do if such a scenario occurs...

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Recent news about London Metropolitan University losing its licence to sponsor student visas has provoked strong reaction among the student community in the UK. Around 2,600 overseas students already studying at this university will be unable to start a new academic year in this institution and are prompted to look for alternatives within the next 2 months or return home.

Current immigration rules have been made stricter to tackle abuse of the immigration system. Institutions should make sure they comply with the rules set if they want to keep their right to sponsor overseas students. However, the latest news shows that losing this right could happen to universities and colleges alike. If the UKBA suspends your education provider's Tier 4 sponsor licence while you are studying in the UK, your permission to stay will be limited to 60 days.

Don't panic, you can still apply for permission to stay with another Tier 4 sponsor during this time!


So what can you do when your institution’s licence is revoked?

The UK Border Agency and the UK Council for International Student affairs are the two government bodies that provide the guidance you need. There are two situations you might be in:


If you are in the UK...

1. Your Tier 4 visa will expire within 60 days

The UKBA will write to you to inform you that your leave has been shortened to 60 days from the date on the letter from the UKBA. It is important that the UKBA has your current address in the UK. You need to inform the UKBA of any change of address in this case.

2. You need to make a new Tier 4 application

You then have 60 days before you either leave the UK or make a new Tier 4 application to study at a new institution. A Tier 4 application using a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies-CAS from the institution whose licence has been revoked will be refused, even if the CAS was issued before the licence was revoked. 

Read our guide to applying for a UK student visa and watch City University, London explain the timeline for applying.

3. And if your Tier 4 application is pending..

If you applied for a visa with the letter of acceptance from the university penalised, your application will be refused because your CAS will no longer be valid.  However, the UKBA will delay the refusal of your application for 60 days so that you can obtain a CAS from a new institution and either apply to vary your existing application, or make a new application. The UKBA will write to you with more information including the date by which you must provide them with a new CAS to vary the application.


If you are outside the UK...

All Tier 4 applications using the institution's CAS on will be refused. This includes applications submitted before the licence was revoked. If you have already paid a deposit to the institution which has had its sponsor licence withdrawn, you will need to contact them directly to request any refund you are entitled to.

You may have already obtained a Tier 4 visa for study at the institution before their licence was revoked, or you may have already started the course and be temporarily travelling outside the UK.


If you have not yet ever travelled to the UK using your visa..

Then you should not attempt to do so now.


If you are temporarily outside the UK...

If you have travelled to the UK already on your visa but are currently outside the country, and you attempt to enter the UK again on this visa, your leave is likely to be shortened to 60 days on arrival. You need to make it clear to the border force officer that you intend to make a fresh application for leave to study with a different Highly Trusted Sponsor University or you might not be allowed to enter the country at all.

If you still wish to come and study in the UK, the safest option will be to find an alternative Tier 4 sponsor, be offered a place on a recognised course, and use their CAS to make a Tier 4 application in your home country.


Finding a new course

London is still one of the most exciting cities to be a student in. There are several options that you can look into. When you are looking for a course, make sure you apply to a reputable university or college, recommended by authorities and students alike.

If you are looking for a new course, our database of university courses would be good place to start. The modules or credits that you have already studied at university can be transferred to another university, waving off a proportion of the course duration; however it really depends on the university and course you apply to.


Useful links

Accreditation UK – Board of accreditation of English language colleges

The British Accreditation Council (BAC)

The Accreditation Service for International Colleges (ASIC)

UCAS and UK Education are also useful links to keep in mind.

Read the UK Council for International student Affairs (UKCISA)  guide for more information on what to do.


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