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Absence and suspension of studies

If a student wants to be absent for a short period, they can request a period of authorised absence of between 5 and 60 days by contacting their School office.

The School will ask the Director of Studies or Programme Leader to authorise the period of absence.

For taught students: If authorised this is processed online via e;Vision using the “Study Suspend” online task.  The request will be put on hold until the Visa and International Support Team authorise the absence.  Once authorised, the student and the school will receive an auto email confirming their absence has been approved.  Similarly if the absence has been denied, they will receive email notification. 

For PGR students: The form RD7-A should be completed and sent to researchdegrees@napier.ac.uk and tier4@napier.ac.uk BEFORE the absence is approved.  Once the form is received, the Visa and International Support Team will consider the request and confirm the decision to the Supervisor and the student by email.

Suspending studies

If a Tier 4 student needs to be absent for more than 60 days, they should be advised  to suspend their studies.  The University will report them to the Home Office and their visa will be cancelled. This means that they need to return home during the period of suspense as they no longer have permission to be in the UK. They will be able to apply for a new visa to return.

In exceptional circumstances, if there is a reason why the student needs to remain in the UK and cannot return to their home country (for example, because they are unable to travel for health reasons), they may be able to apply to stay in the UK outside the Immigration Rules.  These cases should be referred to the Visa and International Support Team.

Any Tier 4 students considering suspending their studies must be referred to the Visa and International Support Team so the implications can be explained to them.

Work requirements

Work placements

Students are allowed to do a work placement that constitutes up to a maximum of 50% of the total duration of their course and this can be on a full-time basis. It must be an integral and assessed part of the course. The University will continue to sponsor them whilst on placement (including if the placement is overseas) and must continue to monitor their attendance and engagement but only where the work placement provider completes a form confirming their willingness to monitor the students engagement. 

The form must be completed and be on record before the placement starts. In cases where the placement provider is unable or unwilling to complete the form, the students sponsorship will be withdrawn and their visa cancelled. 

Full details of this are given in the Attendance Monitoring Policy, a copy of which can be obtained from the visa and International Support Team.

Working while studying

Students on degree courses can work up to an absolute maximum of 20 hours in any one week (Monday to Sunday), and are allowed to work full-time (36.5 hours) during vacation periods – see below.

It is a students absolute and personal responsibility to ensure that they do not exceed the working hours’ limit required under their visa. This is critically important - if they did work more than 20 in any one week they would be placing your Tier 4 Visa status at risk and could have it withdrawn and be deported from the UK.

Vacation periods vary for different types of student:

  • undergraduates can work full-time during University vacations

  • ​​​​postgraduate taught students are expected to be completing their dissertation over the summer so are not allowed to work full-time during this period 

  • postgraduate research students are expected to arrange their vacation periods on an individual basis, which must be agreed and confirmed in writing by their supervisor and processed using the RD7-AA form


Working after completing studies

Student visas are usually valid for four months after a course finishes. Students are allowed to work full-time during this period. If they wish to stay in the UK to work after this, they will need to obtain the relevant work visa.

Opportunities for further sponsorship

There are two schemes where the University can continue sponsorship after a student has finished studying here:

  • Doctorate Extension Scheme - doctoral graduates can extend their existing Tier 4 visa for up to 12 months. This visa enables them to work but there is no requirement that a job must be found.
  • Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Scheme - graduates can apply for a visa to set up their own business. This scheme is run through the Innovation Centre and enables graduates to stay in the UK for an initial 12 months which can be extended for a further 12 months.

Further details can be obtained from the visa and International Support Team.