Be a Sponsor Pro: Mastering the Student Visa Maze

Organisations who wish to sponsor international students under the Student or Child Student routes must apply for a sponsor licence.

Once licensed, you become a Student Sponsor with duties to comply with UK’s student sponsor guidance. Failing to meet these duties can lead to compliance issues and sponsor licence suspension/revocation.

Key Sponsor Duties

As a Student Sponsor, you must:

  • Act honestly in all your dealings with UKVI
  • Act with integrity as a genuine education provider
  • Take responsibility for your sponsored students
  • Embed good governance and have adequate oversight measures
  • Comply with all aspects of the Immigration Rules and sponsor guidance
  • Have appropriate staff, policies, processes and quality checks in place 
  • Maintain up-to-date Presence and Contact Details
  • Cooperate with UKVI requests and visits
  • Notify UKVI of changes or events

To retain your licence, you must: 

  • Deliver high-quality education and training
  • Have an auditable system to monitor and prove educational progression
  • Provide English language training (if required)
  • Allow students access to additional learning facilities/tools

UKVI or an approved body may inspect your education evidence and practices. You must facilitate these visits and comply with action plans if deficiencies are found.

Reporting Student Activity

As a sponsor, you must:

  • Report student enrolment within 10 days of course start
  • Report any unauthorised student absences
  • Submit a change of circumstances information
  • Notify UKVI if you withdraw the sponsorship

Timely and accurate reporting is essential. Late or incorrect reports can impact your CAS allocations and lead to compliance action.

Complying with UKVI Requests 

UKVI may ask you to:

  • Clarify reported information
  • Validate student attendance records
  • Confirm qualification authenticity
  • Provide evidence of progression monitoring
  • Share policies, processes and internal audits

You must respond openly and honestly to all UKVI requests within set deadlines. Non-compliance can count against you.

Record-Keeping Requirements

You must keep all student records for one year after the sponsorship ends. This includes:

  • Copy of passport/ID
  • Contact information
  • Qualifications evidence
  • Course/tuition information
  • Attendance/absence records
  • English test passes (where needed)
  • Progression and monitoring details

We hope this student sponsor guidance has helped explain your key duties and requirements as a Student Sponsor. Managing compliance effectively is essential for maintaining educational oversight privileges and retaining your licence long-term.

Please contact us if you need advice related to any of these sponsor requirements. Our consultants have extensive experience in supporting education providers with immigration compliance.