All education institutions which want to recruit international students must demonstrate both a strong record of immigration compliance, by gaining Tier 4 Sponsor status, and a high educational quality, by undergoing an assessment of their educational standards by an independent inspectorate.
This independent educational oversight ensures that only genuine high-quality institutions can sponsor students under the Tier 4 visa arrangements, protecting the UK’s international reputation for excellent educational standards.
A private education provider must have been continuously teaching a course of study that meets Tier 4 requirements to UK or EEA students for two years prior to its inspection. This ensures that such providers receive a meaningful inspection of their teaching provision, and that only genuine private education providers can become Tier 4 sponsors.
The two-year requirement does not apply to other types of Tier 4 sponsor, because they are subject to different statutory inspection arrangements. In the case of independent schools, these include consideration of the institution’s ability to safeguard children. These requirements ensure that international students continue to receive a high-quality education in the UK.