College refused ‘Highly Trusted Sponsor’ status

Posted: 17th January 2013

office blockA higher education college which was refused ‘highly trusted sponsor’ (HTS) status in respect of the admission of overseas students from outside the European Union has failed to convince the Court of Appeal that it was unfairly treated or that the UK Border Agency’s policy on the issue is irrational.

West London Vocational Training College Limited had its application for the status refused after UKBA identified 40 instances in which prospective students had applied for clearance to enter the UK, or leave to remain here, in the course of a 12-month period. Eleven, or 27.5%, of those applications had been refused and UKBA said that refusal rate exceeded its mandatory requirements.

The college had its judicial review challenge dismissed by the High Court and, in dismissing its appeal, the court rejected pleas that the policy guidance that formed the basis of UKBA’s decision was either invalid or misconstrued. The court also dismissed arguments that the guidance was irrational and that the UKBA had unlawfully fettered its discretion by enforcing a blanket requirement that refusal rates in excess of 20% would result in a refusal of HTS status.