Immigration courses

We have a large range of courses that deal with immigration issues. They are presented under the headings: Foundations; Sponsor compliance and Immigration advice.

Anyone wishing to book any of the courses in either (2) or (3) should undertake the online immigration module of Understanding International and attend the 'Tier 4 basics' course. With the knowledge and experience from these two training activities, maximum benefit can be gained from the more specific or specialist courses. Without having done these, participants may have difficulty engaging effectively with those courses and hinder colleagues in any group work (eg case studies) during the training event.

See our handy guide to Choosing the right immigration courses and in the right order


1. Foundations

Understanding International - immigration module
Understanding International is an online self-study package to help staff learn about key aspects of international work in the education sector.

Tier 4 basics
This course is for immigration advisers and compliance staff working with Tier 4 students. It aims to give a foundation for Tier 4 (General) and for the other immigration courses that we offer. The course doesn’t deal with anything that is specific to Tier 4 (Child) but much of what is covered – for Tier 4 (General) – is of relevance to Tier 4 (Child).

Preparing for enrolment: key immigration issues
This course will enable staff members to deal with the key immigration issues that arise during enrolment periods.

2. Sponsor compliance

Assigning CASs: all you need to know
This course is for Level 1 and 2 users of the SMS who are or will be involved with assigning CASs.

Tier 4 and sponsor compliance
Since the introduction in April 2009 of Tier 4 of the Points-Based System, issues around the system have become central to the work of all parts of any institution with a Tier 4 sponsor licence. This seminar will clarify the compliance duties that institutions must undertake to avoid losing their Tier 4 licence.

Compliance - problem areas
This course will cover common problems faced by compliance staff in the education sector and how to resolve them.

UKVI Audits: preparation & survival
This course is specifically for staff involved in Compliance, particularly those who are likely to coordinate and lead the institution's preparations in the event of a UKVI audit.

3. Immigration advice

Advising on Tier 4 applications (part 1)
This course is for participants who support students who need to make a Tier 4 application sponsored by your institution. The course covers helping students to make a successful Tier 4 visa application in their home country or a Tier 4 extension in the UK and the evidence needed to support an application.

Advising on Tier 4 applications (part 2) 
The course aim is to enable experienced participants to consider how to deal with complex applications, and problems which may occur through the process of the application.

Tier 4 refusals 
This course will enable experienced participants to advise students on their options when Tier 4 applications have been refused and to help them apply for administrative review of refusals.

Short-term study visa refusals
This course will give advisers an opportunity to find ways of reducing the likelihood of visa refusals for their short-term students.

Stop press: recent changes and issues
This course is designed to provide participants with updated information on a range of international student issues and changes in regulations that have arisen in the last 12 months. The course is intended for experienced participants who already have a good understanding of existing regulations affecting international students. Over the last few years, changes to the immigration system have dominated the agenda for this course exclusively.

Work rights & options for international students
This will be of interest to anyone involved with advising international students about immigration and careers options, and to those involved in recruitment.

UKVI Audits: preparation & survival
This course is for staff who are likely to coordinate and lead the institution's preparations in the event of a UKVI audit.

4. Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

UKCISA’s training courses are an ideal way of developing your skills and keeping up to date, for example, with changes in relevant areas of law, government guidance and administrative processes.

If you are giving immigration advice, you are subject to regulation by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC). Among other things, this means that you must comply with the OISC Code of Standards. This is the case even if you are not required to register with the OISC because of certain Ministerial Orders.

The OISC Code of Standards requires that all those giving immigration advice are competent to do so. So you must have the skills and knowledge to give such advice and keep up to date with all relevant changes to the immigration system, not just the law itself. It also means that you are expected to have, and develop, your skills and knowledge beyond immigration so that you can provide accurate and safe advice – including, for example, relevant IT skills and communication skills.

Those who have to register with the OISC must comply with the OISC’s CPD requirements. Since April 2016, OISC have abandoned prescriptive requirements for advisers to achieve a minimum number for core (immigration-related) and non-core (non-immigration related) CPD hours each year. Instead, they have introduced a scheme that is more “outcomes focussed” as from 1 April 2017.

OISC have, therefore, dropped their mandatory requirement that only CPD provided by its approved accreditors is acceptable.

If you are covered by a Ministerial Order exempting you from OISC registration you are also exempt from meeting OISC’s CPD requirements. There has been no indication from OISC that this would change in the foreseeable future.

Whether or not you are exempt from OISC registration and OISC’s CPD requirements, your own CPD is still important for ensuring that you give safe and accurate advice that complies with the OISC Code of Standards.