Section 2: International Student Information

 

2.1 Right to study

2.1.1 If you are studying on a student visa or have limited leave to remain in the UK, then these sections are relevant to you. Please read them carefully as they are very important.

2.1.2 With effect from 5 October 2020, the Tier 4 (General) immigration category was changed to the student route and all international applicants who apply for a visa to study in the UK will be granted leave as a “student” as opposed to Tier 4 (General). We refer to this category of immigration permission as “student” leave but the provisions in these regulations also cover those with Tier 4 (general) leave.

 

2.2 Passport and visa

2.2.1 You must demonstrate to us that you have the right to study in the UK. To do this, you need a valid passport and an appropriate visa which allows you to study. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have a valid passport as well as the correct visa.

2.2.2 When you arrive, you must provide us with a copy of your visa and passport. You should also ensure you provide updated versions of your visa/passport as appropriate throughout your course when requested by the International Office.

2.2.3 It is your responsibility to comply with the terms of your visa and with the regulations of the University at all times. It is a condition of your enrolment or re-registration on your course that you accept these obligations. If you do not comply with immigration controls or provide evidence of your right to study, we may suspend your studies and ultimately we may be required to withdraw you completely. This could result in your student visa being curtailed or cut short.

2.2.4 Under the government’s immigration rules, we are obliged to report students who do not meet their visa conditions or who are suspected of being in breach of their visa status. We will not hesitate to suspend and subsequently report any students who are believed to have violated UK immigration regulations. Infringement of visa conditions is a serious offence and may lead to deportation. The Home Office may also impose additional sanctions.

2.2.5 We may decline to issue a confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) or withdraw our sponsorship of your student visa if you do not comply with the requirements in this section. We may also do this if, in our opinion, your circumstances may compromise or pose a risk to our licence as a student sponsor. If we withdraw our visa sponsorship, we will also withdraw your registration as a student of the University immediately.

2.2.6 If your visa requires you to register with the police, you must do so within seven days of arrival in the UK, and again within seven days of any change in personal circumstances. You must provide the University with evidence of police registration on request.

2.2.7 You must leave the UK when your visa expires unless you have obtained further valid leave to remain.

 

2.3 Obligations on student visa holders

2.3.1 The main obligations imposed by the Home Office on those studying in the UK on a student visa are set out below. This list is not exhaustive or exclusive and may be updated by the Home Office with new conditions added from time to time. We may, therefore, amend our policy and practice at short notice to reflect revised Home Office rules and guidance.

2.3.2 If you wish to change course (or research topic), we must inform the Home Office. Therefore, you must discuss this request with the International Office before doing anything else.

2.3.3 If you need ATAS clearance, you must obtain this before you apply for a visa or before you transfer into a course for which you require clearance. Guidance on the Academic technology approval scheme

2.3.4 You must tell us if:

  • You change address. You can do this using “My Details” online, by going to your School Office or by advising staff in the International Office.
  • You obtain a new passport.
  • Any of your personal circumstances change (e.g. marriage, divorce, illness, or planned absence).

 

2.4 Registration and attendance

  • You must complete enrolment and re-registration at the scheduled times so that you are always a “current student” of the University.
  • You are required to attend two “check point” events each year, held in the spring and autumn terms. One of these events is an online check-in which we usually require you undertake on campus. The other check point is a face-to-face event; you must attend this and bring your passport and visa with you.
  • The International Office will inform you when these events are due to take place. We will use your University email address to do this, so please check it regularly.
  • If you fail to attend the check point event by the deadline stated in the email, we will undertake an investigation into your attendance.
  • If we find that you have not been attending scheduled classes, seminars, tutorials and appointments with academic supervisors regularly, you will be required to report to the International Office within five working days. Attendance and reporting may be online or on campus, depending on current government advice in relation to the global pandemic. If you fail to report, we will apply immediate sanctions and your access to all University systems will be blocked. This includes Brightspace, Turnitin and your University email account.
  • If we find that you continue not to attend and engage as we expect, you will be required to report to the International Office, again within five working days. If you fail to report, we will issue a written warning and apply immediate sanctions. If you do not comply within a further five days, we will withdraw you from your course and withdraw sponsorship of your visa, both with immediate effect.
  • Attendance on campus at the University is monitored and you must register your attendance at all scheduled classes, seminars, tutorials, or appointments with an academic supervisor. These events must take place on campus or at a temporary location authorised in advance by the International Office and you will usually be expected to swipe your campus card.
  • Attendance online is also monitored but you do not need to take any action to register your engagement.
  • If you are on a taught Master’s course and working on your dissertation, you are also required to swipe your campus card regularly to demonstrate your continued engagement.
  • If you do not comply with course attendance requirements, or use your card to swipe fraudulently, we will immediately begin attendance monitoring disciplinary measures which could include revoking your visa.
  • In addition to identity card swipes, attendance is monitored by spot checks conducted by your School. We will take immediate action, if there is any discrepancy between the swipe system and the spot check. You will be required to report to the International Office, within five working days. If you fail to report, we will issue a written warning and apply immediate sanctions. If you do not comply within a further five days, we will withdraw you from your course and withdraw sponsorship of your visa, both with immediate effect.
  • Any authorised absences must be approved in advance by visiting your School in person, unless we make an exception in response to extraordinary circumstances when you will be permitted to meet with us online. The School will then formally record the reason on your attendance record.

 

2.5 Work

  • If you have a part-time job, you must not work more than the permitted maximum number of hours under the immigration rules. You must never schedule paid work that conflicts with required attendance at the University.
  • You may not be entitled to claim benefits from public funds.
  • If your course offers a “sandwich” placement, please note that these are subject to Home Office conditions and we are required to monitor these arrangements carefully.

2.5.1 It is extremely important, for the benefit of all our international students, that we are able to comply with our duties as a sponsor and maintain our student visa sponsor status. As such, we cannot accept any liability for any loss (financial or otherwise) experienced directly or indirectly by any applicant or student as a result of any actions or omissions on our part which we believe are necessary or desirable to comply with our statutory duties.

 

2.6 University requirements

2.6.1 In addition to the obligations imposed by the Home Office and listed above, we also require that you adhere to the conditions set out below:

  • You are expected to remain in the UK at the address you have notified to the University until the official end of the academic year.
  • Unless you have been exceptionally permitted to register for distance learning provision, you must live within a reasonable commuting distance of the University so that you are able to attend all scheduled classes, seminars, tutorials or activities with an academic supervisor and fully engage with your course on campus. Exceptions may be made due to Covid-19 restrictions, if this is the case you will be informed.
  • Reasonable commuting distance will be assessed on a case-by-case basis and requirements may vary dependent on the academic requirements of the programme and the circumstances of the student.
  • We may delay your enrolment at the University or curtail your visa if you are unable to demonstrate that you live within reasonable commuting distance.
  • Travel distance and financial difficulties arising from excessive commuting distances will not be taken into account as mitigating circumstances, if you breach your visa conditions or the PGR engagement and attendance regulation
  • You are expected to fulfil the requirements of the PGR engagement and attendance regulation.
  • In response to external factors, beyond our control, we may at our discretion permit variations to the above requirements in order to facilitate remote study.

 

2.7 Students on a standard visitor or short-term study visa

2.7.1 Students who come to the University under an exchange programme or to undertake pre-arranged assessment, study or research, and who are here for a period of less than six months will now be required to have a standard visitor visa to be able to study at the University.

2.7.2 From 1 December 2020, the short-term study visa route is only for those students who are coming to study an English language course in the UK having a duration between 6 and 11 months.

2.7.3 If you who fall into these categories, you will not be permitted to undertake any work, even if it is unpaid. This includes unpaid internships, clinical or observation placements. You will not be permitted to “switch” visa categories while in the UK.

2.7.4 You are required to comply fully with University PGR engagement and attendance regulations

 

2.8 Other visa categories

2.8.1 If you are studying under any other different visa category (dependant, skilled worker, etc.), you are required to comply fully with the PGR engagement and attendance regulations

 

2.9 Doctorate extension scheme

2.9.1 If you have completed your degree and we are sponsoring you under the Doctorate extension scheme (DES), you must comply with Home Office and University requirements.

2.9.2 These requirements are issued to you before a CAS is processed for applications to the scheme. If you do not comply, we are required to report you to the Home Office.

2.9.3 If you have been sponsored by the University under this scheme, you may subsequently switch into another appropriate visa category, subject to satisfying the relevant criteria.

2.9.4 The DES scheme will close to new applicants on 1 July 2021 and eligible graduates will be able to apply under the Graduate Route.

 

2.10 Tier 1 start-up visa

2.10.1 Eligible students may apply to join the tier 1 start-up visa route which allows you to stay in the UK for 24 months to establish a new and innovative business in the UK.

2.10.2 We are required to endorse applications under this scheme and subsequently monitor successful applicants. If you would like to apply for this scheme, you should follow the University’s published procedures before securing formal endorsement.

2.10.3 There may be regular changes to these schemes imposed by the Home Office and we will not accept responsibility for the impact of these changes on students or potential applicants.

 

2.11 The Graduate Route

2.11.1 This new graduate immigration route will allow international students to remain in the UK to either work or look for work for two years (three years for doctoral students) after they have completed their course.

2.11.2 Those with leave under the graduate route will not be sponsored by the University.

2.11.3 Full-time study is not permitted for those with leave under the graduate route.

 

2.12 Visa renewals

2.12.1 You are expected to take responsibility for ensuring that your visa is renewed in time and that you do not remain in the UK without valid permission to study.

2.12.2 The International Office provides a free student visa renewal service and will assist you with your student visa extension.

2.12.3 We cannot assist you in the visa renewal process and will not issue a CAS for visa renewals, unless the following conditions are met:

  • You are not a debtor.
  • Your attendance record and engagement with your studies meets Home Office and the University’s requirements.
  • You comply with all the requirements of this handbook, as well as meeting any specific course requirements as stipulated in the relevant course handbook.
  • We are not aware of any other reason for potential visa refusal, e.g. overstaying, breach of working conditions, lack of funding or any breach of or failure to meet the relevant Government regulations.
  • If you are an applicant who is a sponsored student applying for the doctorate extension scheme, you have obtained written consent from your sponsoring body.

2.12.4 We will not issue a secure reference number for tier 1 start-up visa applicants unless you meet the following conditions:

  • You attend compulsory information sessions
  • You submit an expression of interest.
  • You obtain confirmation from the International Office that you are eligible to apply
  • You submit a formal business plan.
  • If you are sponsored by a Government or other organisation, you provide the express written consent of your sponsor.
  • You return a signed copy of the University’s graduate entrepreneur scheme agreement.

2.12.5 Whilst we will provide every support to assist students through the visa renewal process, we cannot take responsibility for the outcome of renewal applications.

2.12.6 We will not be able to assist you with an application under the graduate or tier 1 start-up visa routes.

 

2.13 Interruption of study Information for International Students

2.13.1 We will normally withdraw sponsorship of your visa if your studies are formally interrupted for any period of time, including, without limitation, interruptions arising from:

  • Medical or personal circumstances (see below – Applying for an interruption of study)
  • Programme transfers
  • Periods of study or work or work experience/placement outside the University.
  • A requirement to complete assessments as an external candidate.
  • Proceedings brought under the University’s disciplinary or fitness to practise procedures.
  • Failure to pay outstanding debt.
  • Breach or suspected breach of immigration conditions.
  • Failure to demonstrate right to study.

2.13.2 If you interrupt your studies, you may be able to resume them at a later date.

2.13.3 An interruption to your studies will normally result in your visa being curtailed or cut short. You will therefore be required to return home until you are in a position to resume your studies. You will be required to apply for a new visa for your resumption of studies.

 

2.14 Applying for an interruption of study

2.14.1 The UKVI requires students on a Student visa to be actively engaged in study. If you cannot engage and progress, the UKVI expects you to take a break from study and leave the UK.

2.14.2 If you do need to interrupt your studies, the University of Huddersfield will report your interruption to the UKVI and you will be required to leave the UK.

2.14.3 When you are ready to return to study, you should request a new CAS and apply for a visa to complete the remainder of your programme.

2.14.4 Common scenarios where you might interrupt your studies include:

  • Ill health: if you are not fit to study and require a period of time to recuperate, you should interrupt your studies.
  • Personal problems: if you are not able to actively engage in study due to personal problems, you should interrupt your studies and re-engage when you are able to do so.
  • Family problems/bereavement: these problems may require you to leave the UK or may affect your ability to study in the UK. You are permitted up to two weeks’ absence but if you need longer, you should interrupt your studies and re-engage when ready.
  • Financial reasons.

2.14.5 It is important that you understand the Regulations on extensions and interruptions of study, as these are the mechanisms we use to support students who are dealing with extenuating circumstances.

 

2.15 Authorised absence reporting and your visa

2.15.1 In all cases, PGR students on student visas should seek advice from the International Office Immigration Team.

2.15.2 If you have a student visa, all absences (except for annual leave) must be approved by the International Office. Once the Immigration Team has approved your authorised absence, they will send you a confirmation letter by email. This does not replace the need for you to complete any extension or interruption forms and you must submit these to your School where appropriate.

2.15.3 Visa regulations do not allow students to officially extend a course end date as the result of an authorised absence. Absences will only be authorised if you are still able to complete your course of research within your standard enrolment period (three years for Doctoral and one year for a Master’s study).

2.15.4 If you feel that your circumstances mean that you will not be able to finish your course on time, you should consider requesting an interruption of studies instead of an authorised absence. If you do interrupt your studies, you must leave the UK until you are ready to return to study.

2.15.5 The absolute maximum period of consecutive leave you can take is 60 days. As a PGR student, you can, however, use annual leave plus request up to 60 days for data collection.

 

2.16 Authorised absence categories

2.16.1 The table below outlines the categories of leave which may be permitted as authorised absence. It is very unlikely that leave will be authorised if it does not meet the criteria below:

CategoryAllowable periodEvidence requirements
Annual leave 35 days (except where leave likely to impact on progress of a research project or where there are funding implications)

n/a

NB this is approved by your School on a leave card, not by the International Office
Study visit / data collection outside the UK Up to 60 days Supervisor confirmation
Pregnancy & birth (refer to the Policy on Support for Pregnant Students and New Parents) Up to 6 weeks Medical documentation
Paternity leave Up to 2 weeks Medical documentation
Sickness or ill-health Up to 2 weeks. Longer periods may require students to suspend Sick note or other evidence from the student’s doctor / specialist
Sick relative or dependant* Up to 2 weeks Reliable 3rd party evidence / medical certificate
Close family bereavement** Up to 2 weeks Reliable 3rd party evidence / death certificate
Involvement in competitive sports at national or international level Up to 2 weeks Reliable 3rd party evidence
Victim of serious crime Up to 2 weeks Crime number / police report
Conference outside the UK Up to 1 week Supervisor confirmation

*A dependant is classed as a spouse, cohabitee, child, parent or someone who reasonably relies on the student for assistance if they fall ill, or are injured, or relies upon the student for help, or in making arrangements in the provision of care

**Close relative, partner/spouse, or partner’s/spouse’s immediate relative

 

2.17 Annual leave

2.17.1 As a postgraduate research student, you can request up to 35 days a year annual leave. Your School will issue you with an annual leave card and will approve and record your leave. You can use your leave card as proof of authorisation for absence from the University.

2.17.2 You do not need International Office approval for annual leave.

 

2.18 Data collection and fieldwork

2.18.1 UKVI requirements do permit PGR students to undertake periods of data collection or fieldwork in a different study location and this includes work overseas. However, the University is required to continue to monitor your engagement with your course when you are away for data collection and we are expected to know the whereabouts of all students whose visas we sponsor.

2.18.2 If you are away from the University, you must maintain regular contact – for example, weekly email contact with your supervisor with a monthly virtual supervision meeting. You need to agree these contact arrangements in advance of the data collection and outline them in the comments box on the authorised absence form. You also need to agree what you hope to achieve and progress should be assessed during and after the period of data collection.

2.18.3 If you exceptionally wish to request a period of more than 60 days for data collection, please contact the immigration team to discuss this. You will need to be very clear about why you need to take a prolonged period of data collection and your request must be signed off by your supervisor.

2.18.4 The immigration team is required to report periods of data collection of more than 60 days to the UKVI as a change of study location.

 

2.19 Writing-up and additional time

2.19.1 Three to six months before the end of the active research period for your course of research, you will be required to notify your School of whether:

  • You intend to submit your thesis on time.
  • You would like to request additional time to complete your research.
  • You wish to request a writing-up period.

2.19.2 If you wish to apply for either of the latter options, you must discuss the implications of this for your visa with the International Office at the earliest opportunity.

Regulations for Postgraduate Research Students

Return to the Regulations for Postgraduate Research Students