An inspection of the immigration system as it relates to the higher education sector


The Independent Chief Inspector invites anyone with knowledge and experience of the interaction between the UK immigration system and the higher education sector to submit evidence to inform an inspection of this area.

Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration

Published21 October 2021

The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration has begun an inspection of the relationship between the immigration system and the higher education sector and is inviting anyone with relevant professional knowledge or personal experience to submit evidence to

This call for evidence will remain open until 15 November 2021.

The Independent Chief Inspector is interested in assessing the extent to which the Home Office’s immigration functions support the objectives laid out in the UK Government’s International Education Strategy, as updated in February 2021. To that end, it is expected that this inspection will adopt a broad perspective on the interaction between the UK’s immigration system and the higher education sector, examining such areas as:

  • the efficiency and effectiveness of the post-EU exit points-based immigration system for international students and staff
  • the sufficiency of provision for the mobility of short-term students, academic visitors and individuals undertaking permitted paid engagements
  • the extent and quality of communication and engagement between the Home Office and the higher education sector
  • the fitness for purpose of the Home Office’s licencing system for visa sponsorship, including compliance requirements
  • the availability and usefulness to the higher education sector of guidance for study and work applications
  • the quality of service and consistency of information provided to participating higher education institutions by the Home Office’s Premium Customer Service schemes
  • the competitiveness of the UK’s immigration “offer” to international students and staff, including such considerations as: cost, ease of navigating the system, accessibility for dependents, and availability of post-study immigration routes

The Independent Chief Inspector would be pleased to hear both what is working well and what could be improved. Information received in response to this call for evidence will play an important part in defining the scope and focus of the inspection. Submissions touching on any and all areas of interest to the sector, including those that may not be mentioned above, are therefore welcome.

The information you submit may be quoted in the final inspection report, but it is the ICIBI’s practice not to name sources and to anonymise as much as possible any examples or case studies.