Tips to Prepare for your Pre-Approval Visit

8 July 2020

Once you submit your application to the Home Office, the Community Sponsorship team will get busy checking to make sure you’ve submitted all of your additional documents, dotted all your I’s and crossed all your T’s. They may come back to you with some clarifying questions (not to worry, this happens to most Community Sponsorship Groups!) and then they’ll get in touch to schedule your pre-approval visit (PAV).

What is a PAV?

The PAV is a meeting that allows the Home Office to make a more detailed assessment of your application. It will likely be conducted over the phone and will be attended by a Community Sponsorship Team Leader, your Home Office Contact Officer, a representative from your Local Authority, your Lead Sponsor and your core Group members.

A “meeting with the Home Office” may sound like an intimidating experience, but there’s nothing to be afraid of! Many Groups have said that their PAV was an informal conversation with the Home Office and a great opportunity for the Group to ask questions and connect with the Local Authority as well. In the PAV, the Home Office representatives may ask you to elaborate on some of the points made in your application or ask you to look into certain areas of support with more detail.

Starting in mid-2020, the last 20 minutes of your meeting will include scenario-based questions to give your Group a chance to demonstrate your preparedness for common challenges in Community Sponsorship. These scenario-based questions will range from how you plan to approach specific safeguarding concerns to how you will deal challenges like managing expectations. 

Remember that the Home Office Community Sponsorship Team are excited about this programme and want you to succeed. There is no pass or fail in a PAV but after the meeting, the Home Office may ask you to do a bit more work on certain parts of your application before they give you approval or approval in principle.

Which Group members should attend?

Be sure to include Group members who are best informed about your plans. As a project leader, you won’t be expected to have all the answers so feel free to refer to other Group members.

Tips to prepare:

  • Read through your application ahead of time. It may have been a while since you wrote it so it’s good to refresh your memory of all your amazing plans
  • Have a copy of your application and safeguarding policy on hand in case you need to refer to it and be sure to know how you'd report a concern.
  • Prepare and write down any questions you have for your Local Authority or the Home Office ahead of time.
  • For the scenario-based questions, think through the boundaries you've discusses as a Group and the empowerment strategies you plan to incorporate into your support. 
  • After the PAV, respond to any pending questions from the Home Office ASAP. The sooner you do this the sooner you’ll be granted approval or approval in principle.
  • Relax, it’s not a test! Everyone at the PAV wants you to succeed.

Get in touch with us if you have further questions.

Tips to Prepare for your Pre-Approval Visit is also published in Reset UK on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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