Tips to prepare for your pre-approval meeting with the Home Office
Once you submit your application to the Home Office, the Community Sponsorship team will check to make sure you’ve submitted all of your additional documents. They may come back to you with some clarifying questions (this is perfectly normal and happens to most Community Sponsorship groups). They will then get in touch to schedule your pre-approval meeting (PAM).
What is a PAM?
The 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, 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 is no need to worry. 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 too. 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 in 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 with 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 PAM. However, 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 (AIP).
Which group members should attend?
Group members who are best informed about the group’s plans should ideally be available to attend. Take some time to decide who these people should be. Group leads will not be expected to have all the answers, so ensure that other group members are involved in the conversation.
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.
Who can I talk to about our pre-approval support meeting?
Please contact the Reset Team with any queries you may have.