UKBA restores Teesside’s highly trusted status

Teesside University has had its licence to sponsor international students reinstated after it was suspended in early February.

May 1, 2012

A spokeswoman said that the university had been notified that it was back on the UK Border Agency’s list of Tier 4 Highly Trusted sponsors.

The accreditation allows students from outside the European Union who are offered places by Teesside to apply for visas to study in the UK.

The suspension had come about because the UKBA wanted to check “administrative processes” at the university, the spokeswoman said.

She added that this had not stopped Teesside recruiting international students.

When news of the suspension emerged in late March, it was thought that the UKBA had found issues with Teesside’s student records that required “clarification” after a routine audit in autumn 2011.

The “temporary pause” – as Teesside called it – was the first instance of a named UK university being stopped from giving places to overseas applicants since the UKBA brought in tougher requirements last year on sponsoring students from outside the EU.

In April 2011, Glasgow Caledonian University had its immigration licence suspended temporarily, but this decision was taken under rules first put in place by the last Labour government.

The new guidelines, which were enacted last September, require a university to meet tougher targets on student enrolments, completions and the proportion of students offered places whose visas are approved.

Eight per cent of Teesside’s higher education students were from outside the EU in 2010-11, according to data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency, and their full-time tuition fees contributed £15.3 million to the university’s coffers in the year ended 31 July 2011.

A UKBA spokesman said that the agency welcomed the “brightest and the best students” to study in the UK.

“Our education providers have to meet strict standards, ensuring that they provide high-quality education, and take their immigration responsibilities seriously,” he said in a statement.

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