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Preparing for your Home Office Pre-Approval Meeting

Once you have submitted your application to the Home Office and it has been checked, they’ll get in touch to schedule your pre-approval meeting (PAM). A ‘meeting with the Home Office’ sounds a little intimidating so here are our top tips for getting ready for it.

What is a PAM?

The pre-approval meeting (PAM) 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.

What happens in the meeting?

Many Groups have said that their PAM 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 PAM, 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.

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. 

Can you fail a PAM?

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 PAM 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. Be sure to include Group members who are best informed about your plans. The project leader 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 PAM, 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 PAM wants you to succeed.

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