A guide to the Home Office
Premium customer service
for student sponsors

In October 2020, the Home Office launched a premium customer service for educational institutions sponsoring students on study visas in the UK.

The premium service is designed to offer sponsors an enhanced level of support in sponsoring international students, and will provide institutions with tailored advice and support in managing their sponsor licence and student immigration needs.

Any licensed sponsor with student sponsor status can apply to join the service provided they don’t have outstanding compliance actions. The service is similar to the premium customer service scheme which has been available for sponsors of migrant workers for several years at a significantly higher cost.

How much it costs

The service is available at a cost of £8,000 for a 12 month period, and includes the fee for your next Basic Compliance Assessment (BCA), which sponsors of students must apply for and pass every 12 months in order to retain their sponsor licence.

Included services

Sponsors of students who successfully apply for the premium customer service will benefit from:

  • A named account manager and regional account manager. You will be given a telephone number and email address to contact your allocated account manager between 9am and 5pm on weekdays. Your account manager will be your first point of contact for any enquiries relating to your student sponsor licence or migrant related problems. Your regional account manager will be available to provide support with more complex queries and strategic issues.
  • The opportunity to talk directly with the Home Office at annual premium customer service events and meetings with your account manager and senior members of the team.
  • Access to student immigration history details. With the consent of the student, the Home Office will provide you with information which will assist you in deciding if they can apply for a Student visa and whether you should issue a confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS). These requests will be carried out within 3 working days.
  • Priority treatment on requests to make changes to your student sponsor licence. Most requests will be carried out within 10 working days. Complex requests, such as mergers and takeovers, may take longer to process. If this happens, your account manager will be in contact with you throughout this period.
  • Monthly information reports on CAS allocation are available on request. These reports detail the CAS certificates which you have used in the previous 3 months. This will provide you with an indication of where your CAS outcomes place you in relation to the BCA criteria.

You cannot use the service to ask the Home Office to consider an application outside the immigration rules or to consider migrant applications quickly. However, the premium customer service team can provide updates on the progress of an application, with the permission of the applicant.

Join the waiting list

Unfortunately, the Home Office is currently unable to accept new subscription applications to the service. However, you can make a request to join the waiting list by emailing premiumeducationteam@homeoffice.gov.uk.

In your email, you should include:

  • your institution’s name
  • sponsor licence details
  • your contact details.

You can also apply for the premium customer service using your Sponsorship Management System (SMS) account and selecting ‘Apply for or renew Student Sponsor Premium Customer Service’.

Find out more

To find out more about the premium customer service, you should contact the Home Office on the email address listed above.

If you are seeking immigration support in relation to sponsoring international students, Smith Stone Walters can help. Our dedicated sponsor licensing team can provide support with the entire process, from initial application for a student sponsor licence, through to support with individual student visa applications. To find out more about the service we offer, please contact us today.

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