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The University of East London (UEL) holds a Tier 4 Sponsor licence. This allows the University to sponsor students to study in the UK on a Tier 4 student visa. The University confirms sponsorship of a student to UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) by assigning a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) which is required to make a valid Tier 4 student visa application.

As a prospective or current Tier 4 student it is important that you understand and comply with the responsibilities of your student visa and co-operate with the University in fulfilling their Tier 4 duties.

In these pages you can find information on your legal responsibilities under Tier 4 and UEL's legal responsibilities under Tier 4.

All UEL students on a Tier 4 visa are asked to read our Tier 4 Compliance Leaflet and Tier 4 International Student Handbook.

All UEL international students on other types of visas are asked to read our non-Tier 4 Compliance Leaflet.

Applying to UEL

If you are in the process of undertaking UEL's Pre-CAS checks please read the Pre-CAS interview FAQ's and the UEL Ranking and Facilities guide in order to prepare.

 

    As a student at UEL you will be expected to:
     
    • Collect your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) from the relevant Post Office, complete your enrolment and register for modules on arrival at UEL and before our latest date to enrol;
    • Complete any re-enrolment as required within the necessary time period;
    • Pay your tuition fees promptly to avoid being excluded from your course as this is likely to have implications for your visa;
    • Provide your original passport, visa decision letter, visa and any other relevant documents relating to your visa to our International Compliance team at enrolment and as required post enrolment;
    • Register with the police within 7 days of arriving in the UK (if applicable) and update your certificate if you change address, get a new passport or visa, change course or change place of study;
    • Promptly notify and provide the International Compliance team of any updates to your passport and/or visa, including visa refusal and change of visa category;
    • Study full-time on all required modules (unless you are required to do re-sits, re-submissions or re-takes);
    • Attend all scheduled classes, meetings with tutors, dissertation meetings with supervisor and any other arranged sessions, in line with UEL’s Attendance Policy. Failure to do so will result in your withdrawal from your course and would be reported to UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) in line with our sponsor licence compliance responsibilities. If you are de-registered from a module which results in your status changing to part-time, you are likely to be withdrawn from the whole programme and this would be reported to UKVI;
    • Work towards completing your course by the end date stated on your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS), submit all coursework and undertake required examinations on the due dates;
    • Do not take a break from studies unless there are exceptional reasons, for example, a serious illness or a forced break imposed by UEL’s academic regulations.  This must be agreed in advance with your School and supported with appropriate evidence.  Please note that you will normally be required to return to your home country during the break period;
    • Notify the International Compliance team if you complete your studies earlier than expected;
    • Keep your contact details up to date on UEL Direct, including changes of address, telephone number and email address;
    • Notify the International Compliance team prior to undertaking any work placement which is integral to your course; the work placement must meet the Tier 4 requirements;
    • Notify the International Compliance team if you are considering changing your course as this is likely to affect your visa;
    • Notify UKVI of any significant changes to your circumstances as required;
    • Provide information/documentation to the International Compliance team promptly, if requested to do so;
    • Seek help early from the ISA team if your circumstances are likely to change which may affect your studies and visa in the UK;
    • In order to be considered for a new CAS for a visa renewal, you must meet UEL’s attendance and progression requirements as well as the Tier 4 requirements. In addition, you must apply to renew your visa three months before your current visa expires as UEL does not sponsor students who overstay on their visa.  UEL reserves the right to no longer continue sponsorship and issue a new CAS if you do not adhere to University’s or the Tier 4 requirements. It is unlikely that UEL will support a further CAS request if you do not complete within the time period stated on a second CAS.
    • Ensure that you are fully aware of the responsibilities of your visa and  comply with any future Government changes to Tier 4, as any breach could have a serious impact on your studies and your continued stay in the UK;
    • Adhere to any new procedures implemented by UEL in relation to Tier 4 student visa compliance. 
    For tips on how to protect your Tier 4 visa status, please read the UKCISA information.

    Please note that the UEL International Compliance team and the International Students Advice (ISA) team may contact you via email with important information relating to your visa. It is your responsibility to check your UEL email account on a regular basis.

    Your responsibilities

    UEL is your Tier 4 sponsor for your studies in the UK.  As such we have a number of compliance responsibilities to UKVI in order to uphold our Tier 4 licence.  These include:

    • Retaining a copy of your passport, visa and/or Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) and any updates, including visa refusals and change of visa category.
    • Keeping your contact details up to date;
    • Reporting to UKVI if you fail to enrol/re-enrol by our enrolment and re-enrolment deadline.
    • Reporting withdrawal and exclusion to UKVI, for example, if you are withdrawn for not meeting our Attendance Policy requirements, non-payment of tuition fees.

    • Reporting to UKVI if you are on a break from studies for any reason.  Breaks are normally only allowed for exceptional reasons and must be agreed with your School in advance and supported by verifiable evidence.
    • Reporting to UKVI if your visa is refused.
       
    • Reporting to UKVI if you fail to attend or engage with your programme of studies.
    • Reporting to UKVI if we are no longer your licensed sponsor.
    • Reporting to UKVI if your circumstances change, for example, if your course of study changes or becomes shorter, work placement or if you change visa category.    

    • Reporting to UKVI if we have reason to believe that you are breaching the conditions of your student visa. This includes working in breach of Tier 4 conditions.

    UEL's responsibilities

    During your studies at the University of East London (UEL), your circumstances may change which may impact on your studies and, consequently, your Tier 4 student visa. It is important that you follow the advice outlined below and contact our International Student Advice (ISA) team who can provide you with further detailed advice and support: isa@uel.ac.uk

    Considering taking a break from studies?

    A break from studies is an approved period of time when a student is not studying for their award but will be allowed to return to studies in the future.

    Students may request periods of temporary withdrawal for the following reasons:

    ·         Financial: Student proactively seeks a break from studies in order to make arrangements to cover tuition fees and maintenance for the remainder of their period of study.
    ·         Medical: For example, long-term illness, including mental health issues, and surgeries / pregnancy that prevent a student from attending their course of study for an extended period of time.
    ·         Personal: Family circumstances, including childcare or caring for a family member.
    ·         Work / other commitments: Often result of appointments to new roles and/or significant changes to a job description, resulting in the student being unable to dedicate required time to their studies.
    ·         Any other reason deemed to be acceptable according to University regulations.

    The University may also require that a student be placed on a break from studies in the following situations:

    ·         If a student who is an overseas national, does not have the correct visa to study in the UK;
    ·         As a result of a student’s failure to pay fees;
    ·         As a result of non-enrolment, if allowed by University regulations;
    ·         If there are concerns over attendance and/or progress;
    ·         If there are concerns over a student’s capacity to study.

    Are there any factors to consider for international students?

    International students sponsored by the University under Tier 4 will be required to leave the UK during the period of their study break. As soon as you stop studying, your work permission stops with immediate effect, regardless of when your Tier 4 visa is curtailed.

    Please note:

    This does not mean you cannot return to the UK under another immigration permission that allows you to, such as a visitor visa. You will not be permitted to engage in any study at the University of East London while you are on a study break. The University is obliged to inform the UKVI when a Tier 4 sponsored student takes a break from studies and this will lead to the curtailment (shortening) of that Tier 4 visa.

    Keeping your contact details up to date:

    It is extremely important that you keep your contact details up to date with both:

    ·         UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) who will usually contact you via email, so make sure that you have provided the email address of an account that you regularly check; AND
    ·         The University. This is to ensure that you receive any emails or written correspondence regarding your course and your right to study.

    Time limit for studying in the UK:

    There are limits to the total time you can spend studying in the UK on a Tier 4 Visa. Periods of withdrawal or breaks in study are not discounted from the time limit for studying in the UK. If, following a break from studies, you no longer have enough time remaining, or, are ineligible for a Tier 4 Visa for any other reason, the University will be unable to issue a CAS for a new Tier 4 visa. If you are not eligible for a Tier 4 Visa, you may need to consider alternative immigration permissions that allow you to study in the UK, or withdraw from the University.

    Will this be reported to the Home Office UKVI?

    Yes. If you choose to take a break from your course, or you are obliged to do so for any reason, at the point that your student record is updated to reflect this, a report will be made to the UKVI. The University is required to report all breaks and withdrawals to the UKVI as part of its Tier 4 sponsor responsibilities. You will be notified by e-mail once the report has been made and you will be provided with information about what to do next.

    How does a break from studies affect my visa/ immigration status in the UK?

    Following the report, the UKVI will take action to curtail (shorten) your visa in due course; this is because you no longer require the visa for study. We understand that when curtailing a Tier 4 visa, the UKVI will normally allow a ‘grace period’ of 60 days for you to leave the UK or make another immigration application but this is not guaranteed and may differ depending on the circumstances. The University cannot predict when the UKVI will take curtailment action and we do not receive notification of curtailments, so the safest option is for you to leave the UK/switch visa category within 60 days of the date of our report to the Home Office. If you have already left the UK, curtailment should take immediate effect. Please provide us your evidence of new visa or leaving the UK.

    If you require a Tier 4 visa to resume studies, please contact us about 3 months before your 'expected return date' to request a CAS or a letter for Short Term Student and apply for a new visa. We will start the eligibility assessment including when you have left the UK, outstanding fees, attendance and academic progression etc. upon receipt of your request. You should not risk returning to the UK with your original Tier 4 visa even if you have not received notification of curtailment. If you leave your course before completion, you need to be aware that as soon as you stop studying, your work permission stops with immediate effect, regardless of when your Tier 4 visa is curtailed.

    If you are unable to leave the UK for medical reasons or you have complex personal circumstances, you may wish to consult an immigration specialist regarding your options for remaining in the UK. You can also seek help and support from the University's Wellbeing Support Service.

    The University will not be able to continue to sponsor you under Tier 4 so that you can remain in the UK during your study break.

    How do I apply for a break from studies?

    If you want to consider a break you should speak to the Student Engagement & Retention Team or your Academic Advisor or Programme Leader. 

    Once you have done so, if you have any further immigration related questions that are not answered on Student Immigration & Compliance webpages, you can contact ISA to discuss your situation

    If you are considering withdrawing from your course, you should speak to the academic staff in your School in the first instance about your reasons to see if this can be resolved. In addition, you should contact the ISA team so that they can advise you about any implications this could have on your student visa: isa@uel.ac.uk.

    If you do decide to withdraw from your course, you will need to follow the University’s withdrawal procedures. Please see section C.8.3 of the fees policy. In addition to this, you should email pbs@uel.ac.uk outlining the reasons why you have decided to withdraw.

    The University is required to report your withdrawal to UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) in line with our responsibilities as a Tier 4 Sponsor. We are required to provide UKVI with all relevant information so you will need to inform us if are planning to enrol at another institution or if you are planning to leave the UK.

    If you are leaving the UK, we advise you to do so within 60 days of formally withdrawing from your course. We also ask that you provide us with evidence of this. This would normally be the re-entry stamp in your passport when you return to your home country and a copy of your flight ticket and boarding pass sent by scanned email attachment to: pbs@uel.ac.uk.

    If you have been formally excluded from your studies at UEL due to a tuition fee debt, you will not be allowed to attend your course and the University will be required to report this to UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI), in line with our responsibilities as a Tier 4 Sponsor, UKVI takes this report to mean that we have stopped sponsoring you under Tier 4.

    You are advised to leave the UK as soon as possible and certainly within 60 days of being excluded in order to remain compliant with your student visa.

    If you wish to resume your studies at UEL in the future, you will have to re-apply for admission as a new applicant when you have paid all of your outstanding tuition fees. Please note that your application will not be considered if you have outstanding tuition fee debt. As part of the international admission process, we consider a student’s previous study and immigration history in the UK. As such, you would be expected to demonstrate that you have remained compliant with your student visa during the time you were not studying with us. You would also be required to obtain a new student visa to return to your studies at UEL.

    If you are having financial difficulties, you should consider requesting an exceptional break from studies, you will need to follow the University's deferral and intermission procedures, see section C.8.1 of the Fees Policy. Although whether this is granted will depend on how much of the current semester you have studied to date. In addition, you should contact the ISA team so that they can advise you about any implications this could have on your student visa: isa@uel.ac.uk.

    Occasionally, some students may complete their course earlier than the end date stated on their CAS. In such cases, the University is required to report the new completion date to UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) by updating your CAS. As per current Tier 4 Policy Guidance, if your course finishes early because you have successfully completed your course earlier than expected, the UKVI will curtail your leave so that you have the same wrap-up period of leave after the new course end dates as you were originally given for your original course end date. We advise you to leave the UK after completing your studies or apply for a new visa if you qualify to do so.
    If your student visa has been refused, you must inform the International Compliance team immediately by emailing pbs@uel.ac.uk, with a scanned copy of the refusal notice from UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) as you are required to keep them updated about your visa situation. In addition, you should seek urgent advice from our ISA team who can advise you about the options available to you, including making an Administrative Review: isa@uel.ac.uk. You must act quickly as there are very short timeframes if you are hoping to make an Administrative Review.

    Depending on the reasons for the refusal, we may be able to support a new entry clearance Tier 4 application which would need to be made from overseas. We will discuss your individual circumstances with you and advise you accordingly.

    If your student visa application has been rejected as invalid, this means that your application has not been accepted and the reasons for this will be outlined in the letter that you receive from UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). You should seek advice urgently from our ISA team in relation to the options available to you: isa@uel.ac.uk. You must act quickly as there are very short timeframes for making a new Tier 4 application, if this is an option available to you.

    If you are considering to change course within UEL, you should speak to the academic staff in the Schools in the first instance to see if this is feasible.

    If you applied for your Tier 4 visa on or after 6 April 2016 and meet the following criteria, you will be permitted to change your programme of study and remain in the UK on your current visa:

    • The new course is not at a lower level than the current course;
    • The student will be able to complete the new course within the current period of leave;
    • The new course is related to the previous course, please specify if it is connected to the previous course, part of the same subject group, or involves a deeper specialisation; and
    • The previous course and the new course in combination support the student's genuine career aspirations.

    Once the change of programme has been updated on student records the International Compliance Team will report the change of programme to UKVI within 10 working days as per relevant rules.

    If the course does not meet UKVI requirements, you will not be able to start the new course with your current permission to study in the UK. You should seek advice from ISA team in relation to the available options.

    Please read the 'Course Change Leaflet for Tier 4 Students' for further information.

    If you are in the UK on a student visa you should not be studying part time. Where possible you must remain full time. The only exception is where you need to re-sit a module and have no option but to go down to part time whilst re-sitting the exam/module.
    You should aim to attend 100% and submit all your assignments and attend all exams on time, in order to give yourself the best chance of succeeding in your course. Failure to attend all scheduled classes, tutorials, meetings with tutors, dissertation meetings with supervisors and any other arranged sessions in line with UEL's Attendance Policy and/or failure to submit work/ attend exams, could result in withdrawal from modules and potentially your course at UEL.

    Withdrawal from studies would be reported to UKVI in line with our responsibilities as a Tier 4 Sponsor and would mean you having to leave the UK as outlined above under the section ‘Withdrawing from your course’, above.

    Your course & study changes

    During your studies at the University of East London (UEL), your circumstances may change which may impact on your studies and , consequently, your Tier 4 student visa. It is important that you follow the advice outlined below and contact our International Student Advice (ISA) team who can provide you with further detailed advice and support.

    If your circumstances change while UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) are considering your Tier 4 application or while you are studying in the UK as a Tier 4 student, you should tell UKVI using one of the change of circumstances forms.

    You should use the forms to tell UKVI about:

    For changes in contact details:

    Use the Home Office online update form

    For other changes:

    • New passport details
    • Changes in your personal details (such as name); 
    • Criminal convictions that you have not previously told us about; 
    • Changes in your representative's details; 
    • Changes in your family members' details, if they are in the UK as your dependants; and 
    • Any other information that you think the Home Office should know.

    The form should not be used to report other changes, such as a change in your education provider or course of study. You can find more information in the guidance notes at the back of the form.

    Please follow the link for the Migrant Change of Circumstances form.

    If you have a Biometric Resident Permit (BRP), you should read the information about .changes when you have a BRP on the Home Office website

    Always ensure that you report any changes in your circumstances to UEL as well:

    • changes in contact details can be made through UEL direct; 
    • changes to your visa/ passport (example: new visa) must be reported in person at the HUB with the original evidence of the change (for example: new visa or new passport); 
    • changes to your personal details such as name or title must be changed at the Student Hub in person with the original evidence of the change (for example: new passport with new details or marriage certificate); 
    • new criminal convictions must be reported to the Applicant Checks Officer with responsibility for criminal records checks in the first instance by email at applicantchecks@uel.ac.uk with your name, student number and details of the new criminal conviction.

    Other changes in your circumstances