Tel: +44 (0)121 778 2400    Email:
Tier 4
Education Background

If a UK education provider wants to offer courses to international students, they need to have a tier 4 sponsor license.

The offices of the UKBA have a list of education providers who are registered and approved tier 4 sponsors and once an education institute is approved as a tier 4 sponsor, its name goes into the list and they can start allowing international students to apply for the courses offered by them.

However, receiving the tier 4 sponsor license is not very simple, so to be approved by the UKBA, the education institute has to comply with a number of stringent quality guidelines.

Students wishing to study in the UK can only apply to education providers who are approved as tier 4 sponsors as only such institutions can help students get a tier 4 adult or child visa.

An approved institution can begin assigning confirmations of acceptance for studies to international students and students wishing to study in the UK, require confirmation to score enough on the points based assessment for their tier 4 visas.

An education provider can register with education oversight bodies such as the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) and the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) to get the coveted ‘Highly Trusted Sponsor’ or HTS status.

This status makes the education provider all the more appealing to international students.

There are 8 independent education oversight bodies in the UK. The QAA provides oversight to universities and other higher education providers throughout the UK.

The ISI provides oversight to independent schools and further education providers which are privately funded throughout England and Wales. Schools providing English language instruction and courses can also request educational oversight from the ISI.

An educational oversight body performs regular checks and inspections of education providers. The inspection reports of education providers are collected by the UKBA and are made public on their website. Students wishing to study in the UK can download these reports and check the tier 4 sponsor status of the education provider they choose to apply with.

How Can We Help?

We can help education providers train and prepare for their education oversight inspections and visits. We follow a step by step approach to establish the education provider’s claims for tier 4 sponsorship and the highly trusted sponsor status.

Since maintaining full compliance with all the guidelines and standards laid down by independent oversight bodies is rather difficult, even at the best of times, most education providers need the perspective of an external auditor.

Our team of experienced advisors and reviewers can help colleges gain the highly trusted sponsor status and retain the status and we can also help you gain educational oversight from highly reputed independent bodies such as ISI and QAA, in addition, education providers can retain us as advisors and run monthly quality assurance team meetings to provide advice and guidance on the oversight review procedures.

Tier 4 visa

Tier 4 visas are applicable to those who want to study in the UK.

To qualify for this visa in the adult category, you must have completed at least 16 years of education before applying for higher studies in the UK.

However, if you are 16 or 17 years old, and you want to pursue a course above the National Qualification Framework level 3, you can apply under the tier 4 child category.

To be able to apply under this visa category, the education provider must be approved as a tier 4 sponsor. If you are coming to the UK to study English as a foreign language, you can simply apply for immigration under the tier 4 general category.

You may apply for tier 4 visa if:
  • You are a citizen of the EEA or Switzerland
  • You are a commonwealth citizen with leave to enter or remain in the UK
  • You are a British overseas territories citizen except from one of the sovereign areas in Cyprus.
  • You do not have any time limits or preconditions for your stay.
If you are in UK under tier 4 visa, you cannot bring dependents with you and cannot take a work placement. You cannot extend your visa or switch courses at the end and If you do decide to switch courses, you will have to re-apply for the visa.

You can apply for an extended student visa from outside the UK.

How Can We Help?

Whether you are applying for tier 4 visas from within the UK or from outside, we can help you through the application process.

We can help you shortlist courses from approved tier 4 sponsor institutes. We can also help you file your visa applications and visa extension applications and we offer all the legal and procedural help you require filing a successful visa application.

Back to top