Dear Members,

We have been receiving many enquiries about visas and immigration, including questions about the changed status of EEA pupils and checks to ensure the students are genuine. It is important to understand the new Student and Child Student entry routes which replaced the Tier 4 system last October. Duties related to sponsorship of students can be found here.

The BSA team works closely with the Home Office and represents the sector at the Educators Advisory group which meets regularly and at the APPG for International Education. We gather common themes and issues and share these with officials so they can adapt processes and policy.

The latest Home Office advice for all UK boarding school sponsors can be found on our website here.

Officials have asked us to share their latest message regarding COVID-19 concessions with members (please note not all concessions apply to boarding schools) and requested we collate feedback comments from members:

I know you have had lots of questions about when the COVID-19 concessions guidance would be updated and what changes would be made to the concessions. Our Minister has decided which concessions to extend and which should now end and we are working to update the guidance as soon as possible in accordance with his directions. I thought it would be helpful to give you a preview of the changes that will be made, in advance of formal publication of the guidance, to assist you in your planning.

Here is a summary of the changes we will be making to the policy guidance:

  • We have added clarification that Educational Oversight inspections are expected to resume in-person once inspection bodies are able to do so.
  • The current BCA concession continues to apply.
  • We have added clarification that sponsors are expected to report when students do not enrol on a course after being granted permission, as per their normal duties.
  • The end date for the distance learning concession for the 2020-2021 academic year is 27 September.
  • We have extended the concession on expired CAS to cover those issued before 31 December 2020 that have since expired.
  • The concession permitting new students who are applying to switch into the Student or Child Student routes in the UK to commence study ahead of their application will end on 30 June.
  • We have added clarification on sponsorship not being required where there is no intention to study in the UK via face-to-face learning
  • We have removed the concession on applying for further permission in the UK for s course that commences outside the unusual 28-day period, which ended 31 March 2021.
  • The concession that students will be exempted from the academic progression requirement if they are on integrated programmes and need more time to complete the lower level award will apply to courses with a start date before 27 September 2021.
  • The concession on academic progression for those who complete integrated programmes with the lower level award and wish to apply for a new course in the UK is now a part of the Immigration Rules and is therefore being removed from the concessions.
  • We have added clarification that concession on working hours concession only applies for NHS roles listed and until 30 September.

I hope this is useful. We will send a further update when the guidance is published.

Thank you for your continuing engagement with the Educational Advisory Group.

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