22 March 2012

Teesside University becomes first to fall foul of new UK visa rules

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Teesside University has become the first British higher education institution to have its licence to sponsor international students suspended after failing to comply with new, stricter UK visa restrictions.

UK visa

Teesside University relies on foreign students for £15 million of its total income.

Teesside University will not be able to sponsor international students' UK visa applications until the 'administrative issues' the UK Border Agency (UKBA) identified in its overseas recruitment processes are resolved.

The university, which has almost 30,000 students, became the first establishment to have its Highly Trusted Sponsor (HTS) status suspended after more stringent requirements were enacted by the UKBA regarding sponsorship of non-EU students.

The UKBA reportedly found issues which needed 'clarification' with Teesside's student records during a routine audit in late 2011.

The university, describing the suspension as a 'temporary pause' in the processing of 'immigration paperwork', claims it has now made the necessary adjustments to comply with the new legislation.

"Teesside University has not had its HTS licence revoked and indeed no revocation action has been taken," said a spokesperson for the university.

"A temporary pause has, however, been placed on the processing of immigration paperwork by the university while we worked in partnership with the UKBA to enhance our processes.

"This process is now complete and has proved to be a very positive experience that has led to significant enhancements in a number of areas of our international activity."

International students make up approximately 8% of Teesside University's student body yet receives over £15 million in tuition fees from its international students, more than 10% of its total income.


The UK Visa Bureau is an independent UK immigration consultancy specialising in helping people prepare for their UK Ancestry Visa application.

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