Points based system - final phase goes live

The UK Government began to introduce a Points Based System (PBS) for immigration in 2007.

This has changed the way in which different groups of migrants can enter the UK and the pre-requisites they require. This new immigration system is controlled by the UK Border Agency (UKBA), a department of the Home Office. All universities that bring international students to study in the UK must now register as sponsors with the UKBA.

Since April 2009, international students coming to study in the UK have been issued with a General Student Visa Letter (GSVL) from the University of Leeds which they have used to support their applications to UKBA. The final phase of PBS goes live today (Monday 22 February 2010) and the GSVL will be replaced by a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) to enable a student to apply for their visa. The CAS is only valid for a six month period and so will be issued no more than six months before the start of a programme. This would mean that for students starting in September 2010, the earliest their CAS could be issued would be April 2010.

The UKBA Sponsor Management IT System (SMS) will be used to generate a CAS and this data will be drawn directly from Banner. Work is now complete to ensure Banner is able to capture the additional data fields required by UKBA to generate a CAS and scope to store the CAS number in the applicant record. Central Admissions Teams will be responsible for generating the CAS for international applicants as part of the current admissions process. Schools will be able to view this information in Banner and guidance for Banner users will be issued by ISS over the coming weeks.

Existing students who need to extend their current visas to continue their studies at Leeds will also need to be issued with a CAS. Guidance for students is available from the International Student Office. Any students requesting a visa extension should make their normal request via the Student Services counter or http://www.leeds.ac.uk/studentservicescentre/counterservices/services.htm

There is now additional pressure for us to operate a "right first time" approach to data quality within our own internal systems to ensure CAS numbers can be provided quickly and seamlessly for all our international applicants.

From 22nd February, all HEI's are required to notify the Immigration Authorities of international students from outside the EEA who enter the UK using a CAS and who fail to register, fail to take up their course or who appear to have left their course.

As part of our duty of care, we have already put in place processes to support attendance monitoring for all students, with further systems development planned for PGR students. Having these processes in place means that we are able to meet these UKBA requirements.

As with our current agreed practices, prompt notification of all leavers and suspensions should be sent by schools to Student Administration. They will manage the appropriate communications with UKBA and liaise closely with schools in relevant cases. We are asking schools not to reply directly to any query from UKBA.

Please direct any enquiries from UKBA, applicants or existing students about the implications of Tier 4 to the relevant central offices that will be able to provide further information and guidance.

For Undergraduate Applicants contact admissions@leeds.ac.uk
For Post Graduate Taught Applicants contact tp_enquiry@leeds.ac.uk
For Taught Students (Undergraduate and Post Graduate) contact studentrecords@adm.leeds.ac.uk
For Research Applicants or Students contact l.carr@adm.leeds.ac.uk

Professor Vivien Jones
Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Learning and Teaching)

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