Department of Student and Academic Administration

Academic Standards, Quality and Partnerships

UKVI Compliance

In March 2009 the Government introduced Tier 4 of the new Points Based System.  Under Tier 4 all UK educational institutions require a UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) approved sponsor licence to recruit and retain Non-European Economic Area (Non-EEA) students on a student visa. The University of Portsmouth has Tier 4 Sponsor status and holds a UKVI Tier 4 and Tier 2 licence under one sponsor licence. Annually the University is assessed by UKVI on whether the institution meets core requirements to retain its Tier 4 licence, and the University is audited by UKVI every four years.  DSAA Academic Standard and Quality unit manage the ongoing sustainability, development and efficiency of the University's Tier 4 licence and its associated risks, to ensure the safeguarding of the University's Tier 4 licence, which support the University's Global Engagement Strategy and its international reputation.  

The Sponsor Management System and Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies

UKVI’s database, the Sponsor Management System (SMS), is used to assign all CAS and report students. Relevant staff in Professional Services have access to the SMS. Through the SMS, a student is issued with a Confirmation of Acceptance for Study (CAS). The CAS acts as support for the student to come to the UK to study or, in the case of visa extensions, to continue their studies in the UK. Students cannot apply for a visa or visa extension without a CAS number.

University UKVI Strategic Monitoring and Compliance Group 

The UKVI Strategic Monitoring and Compliance Group is chaired by the Director of Corporate Governance , Mr. Adrian Parry, and has members from DSAA, Careers and Employability, Human Resources, Fiance and UoP Global. The group oversees activity in the University to ensure compliance with Tier 4, Tier 2 and Tier 5, agrees relevant operational practice and proposes University policy, as appropriate in line with Tier 4 and co-ordinates PBS related communication and training.
Tier 4 Policies and Processes 
These are a suite of University Tier 4 policy documents, to ensure that the University of Portsmouth is compliant with current legislation, and supports the safeguarding of the University’s Tier 4 licence and delivers the best service to applicants and students.  These policies should be read in conjunction with each other. The University is entitled to revise its policies and procedures relating to compliance with its Tier 4 sponsor duties at any time and will usually do so where there have been any applicable changes to sponsorship requirements made by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) Directorate. 

The policies are next due for review in autumn 2021 in advance of the 2021-22 academic year but will be amended for re-approval sooner if appropriate, for example in response to UKVI Policy change.  The policies should be read alongside The Home Office's Tier 4 Policy Guidance Tier 4 Sponsor Guidance and the Immigration Rules
The Director of Corporate Governance is Authorising Officer and the Academic Registrar and Director of Department of Student and Academic Administration is the Key Contact for UKVI and has overall responsibility for the University’s relationship with UKVI. The Assistant Registrar (UKVI Compliance) is the University’s Tier 4 Compliance expert and is responsible for ensuring that the University complies with UKVI requirements as outlined in their Policy Guidance and ensures the safeguarding of the University's Tier 4 licence. 
Tier 4 Compliance Policy
This document defines the University policy for compliance with the Home Office UKVI regulations relating to Tier 4 students sponsored by the University.  The UK Visas & Immigration Directorate of the Home Office (UKVI) requires Higher Education Institutions to undertake a range of duties and responsibilities as Sponsors of Tier 4 General Students. These focus on issuing of Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS); Record Keeping and Monitoring and Reporting Duties. 
 Academic Council approved the policy on 26 June 2018, with minor amendments made in February 2019.  This version is edition 2
English Language Policy for Tier 4 General Students
Tier 4 sponsors must ensure that students have met the UKVI language requirements for non-EEA students requiring a Tier 4 General Student Visa or Part-time Tier 4 Visa to study in the UK. This policy stipulates the University's English Language criteria, which will be accepted for Tier 4 students. Tier 4 applicants must meet the Home Office English language proficiency requirements, in all four components of language learning, (reading, writing, listening and speaking) for visa purposes only. In addition all applicants must meet the University’s English Language entry criteria. The English Language requirements set out in this policy need to be assessed in conjunction with the University of Portsmouth entry requirements database for international qualifications, which will outline country specific English Language requirements and waivers.
 Academic Council approved the policy on 26 June 2018.  This version is edition 1 
Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) Issuance Policy 
This document sets out the University of Portsmouth's policy regarding the issuance of a Confirmation for Acceptance of Studies (CAS) for applicants and students.  This policy is for the use of University staff responsible for issuing CAS, for International Student Advisers who are responsible for advising Tier 4 applicants and students, and for Tier 4 applicants and current Tier 4 students at the University of Portsmouth.  All staff involved in issuing CAS or advising applicants and students on the Tier 4 process must ensure that the policy is adhered to accordingly.
Academic Council approved the policy on 20 November 2018. This version is edition 1  
Audit Brief 
This document provides a supportive and developmental internal Tier 4 spot checking process, throughout the academic year, which will support the University in safeguarding its Tier 4 licence to enable the recruiting of overseas students and support the University’s Global Engagement Strategy. The process will address associated risks and enhance best practice in preparation for an external Tier 4 audit by the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI), which is undertaken every four years.
Approved at UKVI Strategic Monitoring Group on 24 January 2019 and submitted to University Global Operations Committee on 13th February 2019.

Tier 4 Internal Audit Brief [Acrobat (.pdf) - Tue, 09 Apr 2019 11:11:00 BST]