Points based immigration database
The points based immigration system has been fully live for Tier 4 (students) since February 2010. The hub of the system is the Sponsor Management System (SMS) which is used by the UK Border Agency (UKBA) to adminster the visa application process. Universities and colleges are required to to enter information about students that they have accepted to study into this system as part of the visa application process.
The IT Working Group, a sub-group of the Joint Education Taskforce set up between UKBA, Universities UK and a number of other groups, was formed to oversee the technical aspects of the implementation of the system. UCISA was represented on the IT Working Group, looking after the interests of both institutions and student records systems suppliers. The main outcomes from this Group were mechanisms to transfer data between the Sponsor Management System and institutional student records systems at four stages of the sponsorship process. The IT Working Group was wound up following the final release of the SMS software. It is not anticipated that there will be any further development or releases in the immediate future.
There have been a number of amendments to the schemas for bulk data transfer which will come into effect from 6 April. The schemas are available in the Toolkit on the UKBA website
The lack of development path was one of the issues highlighted in a report on the impact on institutions of complying with the points based immigration system. The study to inform the report was overseen by a working group established by the Higher Education Better Regulation Group (HEBRG). UCISA was represented on the working group. The report has now been published on the HEBRG website
and has been sent to individuals at UKBA, UUK and GuildHE, with a request for a response to the recommendations by 11 October in time for the next HEBRG members’ meeting on 10 November.
Sources of further information
23 March 2012