This information is designed to help colleagues with some of the more common questions we're asked. If you feel that there is a question you have that should be included here, please feel free to email it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Giving a student immigration advice
- I am a member of staff who needs a visa, can you advise me?
- Issuing a CAS to a postgraduate international student
- I want to bring a researcher in to the University for a limited amount of time
- If a student wants to suspend or withdraw
- Can you provide visa advice for other countries?
- What happens when I refer a student or situation to you?
Giving a student immigration advice
Only trained immigration advisers can legally advise students on immigration issues.
Immigration is a complicated area of law which changes rapidly. Students may approach you with questions about immigration; such as needing assistance with a visa application form or wondering if they are permission to work. Whilst the questions that students have often seem simple, they rarely are. We, therefore, urge all staff to refer students with immigration queries to the VIS Team.
I am a member of staff who needs a visa, can you advise me?
The VIS Team is a support service for students; as such we are unable to advise staff on visa requirements unless they would like advice regarding a student visa in order to study at Edinburgh Napier University.
If you require visa advice for employment at the Edinburgh Napier University. We recommend that you speak with our Human Resources Department who are based at Sighthill Campus.
Students who need more time to complete their studies
A CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies) is an electronic document sent to an international student who needs to come to the UK or who needs to extend their visa to remain in the UK.
It is confirmation that they have either accepted a place at the University or are currently enrolled with us. CAS statements are issued to continuing students by the VIS Team. New students receive their CAS from the Admissions Team.
If a student wishes to extend their visa the VIS Team will contact the School Office for confirmation that their presence in the UK is necessary in order to complete their studies.
I want to bring a researcher in to the University for a limited amount of time
Before making any plans or offering a position in the University to a researcher from overseas, it is important to check whether they require a visa and, if they do, what visa is most appropriate for them to obtain.
Please ask the researcher to contact the VIS Team for advice and information about the type of visa which might be applicable to them. We recommend that researchers contact us with advanced notice of their planned visit.
If a student wants to take a period of absence, suspend or withdraw
Terminology is very important. For the purposes of Tier 4 students, please be clear.
- “Authorised Absence”: any period of time where the Tier 4 student will be absent from their studies. This does not include during vacation times
- Suspend studies”: for the purposes of Tier 4 this should be considered the same as a period of Authorised Absence
- “Withdraw”: permanently leave their studies
The most common occurrence is students who need a break from their studies. You will find lots of good information is on myNapier about the process however here is a snapshot showing the 3 periods of absence a student can take and the effect that absence has on their Tier 4 visa.
- Absence length between 5 and 28 days – this is a period of ‘Authorised Leave’.
- The University will record the absence on the student record and will not inform UKVI of the absence. The existing Tier 4 visa to re-enter the UK and return to studies.
- Absence length between 28 days and 60 days – this is a period of ‘Authorised Leave’.
- The University will record the absence on the student record and will inform UKVI of the absence. This will be a ‘change of circumstances notification’ to UK Visas and Immigration and will not result in the Tier 4 sponsorship being withdrawn. Student will still be sponsored by the University for the duration of the absence and they can use existing Tier 4 visa to re-enter the UK and return to studies.
- Absence length more than 60 days - this is a period of ‘Suspended Study’
The University will record the absence on your student record and will inform UK Visas and Immigration that they are not attending the University. Your Tier 4 sponsorship will be withdrawn. Students can return to studies however will need to apply for a new visa to enter the UK.
If an international student approaches you to discuss the possibility of absence from their studies or withdrawing from their course, it is important to inform the student that they must consider the effect this will have on their visa before making any decision. Please make it clear to the student that you advise them from an academic point of view, but that further advice should be taken from the VIS Team about their visa.
An international student’s visa will almost always be cancelled or cut short as a result of a suspension or withdrawal from their studies. Usually, the student will need to return home immediately upon the suspension or withdrawal being confirmed. It is, therefore, vital that they obtain advice from us before making any decisions.
If a Tier 4 student needs to leave their course, the School should process a withdrawal form as normal AND email the VIS Team directly. The VIS Team will offer advice and support to the student (where appropriate) and a report will be sent to UKVI to confirm our sponsorship of the student has ceased.
Can you provide visa advice for other countries?
The VIS Team is only able to offer advice on UK visa requirements and application procedures. We are unable to offer advice and assistance on the visa application and procedures of other countries around the world.
We do recommend, however, that students read the immigration information provided by the embassy of the country they wish to visit. Please direct them to the following page of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website, which lists other country's Embassies based in the UK https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/foreign-embassies-in-the-uk.
What happens when I refer a student or situation to you?
Once a student query has been referred to us, we will initiate a course of action to bring about a resolution. We will converse with the student, gather information and details from any involved party before determining the best course of action.