Biometric Residence Permits ('BRP')
The Home Office has announced the introduction of Biometric Residence Permits ('BRP') for all non-EEA nationals applying for permission to enter the United Kingdom for more than six months. Also see updates on HTS, Partnerships and Visa Applications.
Biometric Residence Permits ('BRP')
The Home Office has announced the introduction of Biometric Residence Permits ('BRP') for all non-EEA nationals applying for permission to enter the United Kingdom for more than six months. This is due to be phased in from March 2015. Under the new provisions, applicants will be issued with a short-term visa valid for 30 days. Upon arrival in the UK, the applicant must collect their BRP from a designated post office in the UK. Previously BRPs have only been issued for in-country applications.
Under the new system, the applicant must state their intended date of travel to the UK on the visa application form and provide an address in the UK. This address will determine the branch of the post office to which the BRP will be sent. When the application has been approved, the British diplomatic post will endorse the individual's passport with a short-term travel visa valid for 30 days from the intended date of travel. The individual will receive a letter confirming the designated post office branch from which they must pick-up the BRP within 10 days of arrival in the UK.
ISC has been working with the Home Office to ensure that measures are put in place so that those pupils attending independent schools, who are primarily under the age of 18, will not be required to go to the Post Office to collect their BRPs themselves. ISC is hopeful that the Home Office will find alternative ways in which to maintain security but not make the collection of BRPs impossibly difficult for independent school pupils.
Highly Trusted Status ('HTS')
Following the lobbying efforts with the Home Office in October 2014 and ISC's meeting with James Brokenshire MP in November, the Home Office has now informed ISC of the revisions that are due to be made to the sponsor guidance. It will be made clear in the revised version that the Home Office CAN make discretionary assessments for independent schools when calculating their refusal rate for the purpose of their HTS applications.
The wording to be included in the revised guidance is: "If you are an independent school and you do not meet the HTS requirements, we will assess your application on a discretionary basis".
The revised guidance is due to be published in March 2015.
Premises and partnerships
The Home Office is due to publish changes to the premises/partnership section in the sponsor guidance. This will result in significant changes for HEI and FE; however schools should be able to continue in much the same way that they do now.
Schools that use pre-sessional course providers that do not have sponsor licences will however be required to send details of such providers to the Home Office by April 2015. They will also need to provide the Home Office with information on the school's sites where relevant. The revised guidance is due to be published in March 2015.
The Home Office has issued a note for key contacts at independent schools via the SMART system. As they receive a higher than normal intake of applications in the early part of the year, they have set out a couple of simple points to ensure that students receive a decision within the Home Office's 8 week service standard. The note can be viewed by clicking here.
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Tier 4 of the Points Based System – Policy Guidance
Home Office guidance to be used for all Tier 4 applications made on or after 29 June 2017Download
Tier 4 of the Points Based System: Guidance for Sponsors
Home Office guidance to be used from 6 April 2017Download