Immigration and visa overview
The UK immigration system is
managed by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI), part of the Home Office. It is
known as the points-based system for immigration.
There are various different
tiers, or categories, of immigration depending on the reason why the migrant
wishes to come to the UK.
The role of visa sponsors
Many of the tiers require the
migrant to have a sponsor, like an employer or education institution. The migrant’s
visa is tied to that particular sponsor.
The sponsor has various
responsibilities and must hold a licence for any tiers under which they wish to
sponsor migrants. Without a licence, sponsors are not able to recruit staff or
students from overseas.
Students with visas
Most international students on
full-time degree programmes will need a Tier 4 student visa.
Students on short programmes
like English courses, or those already here as visitors or on exchange, may be
able to study on a Short-term study visa.
Certain other types of visa
also permit study and should be checked with the Visa and International Support
students with Tier 4 visas
In order to recruit
international students needing a visa to study in the UK, the University must
hold a Tier 4 sponsor licence. This requires us to sponsor all our students on
Tier 4 visas, and we have a range of monitoring and reporting duties for them.
As a sponsor, we are also
required to make sure that all our students have valid permission to be in
responsibility for students with Tier 4 visas begins as soon as we issue them a
Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS), which allows them to apply for the
visa. Our responsibility ends if any of the following things happen:
- they leave the UK following completion of
- their visa expires
- we report to the Home Office that we have
stopped sponsoring them
- they switch sponsor or immigration category
Complying with the Tier 4 requirements
If the University does not
meet the sponsor requirements set by the Home Office, it will lose its sponsor
licence. This would mean that the University would be unable to recruit any students
from outside the EEA who need a visa to study in the UK.
As well as ongoing checks to
make sure of compliance and annual renewal processes, the University is subject
to audit by the Home Office at any point.
Checking if a student is on a Tier 4 visa
On the STU screen in SITS, the
'report to UKVI' box will be ticked if the student is on a Tier 4 visa.
Alternatively, you can ask the Visa and International Support Team for a
list of Tier 4 students. This list changes regularly and therefore the report
must be refreshed on a regular basis.
Staff with visas
To recruit staff from
overseas, the University is also a Tier 2 and Tier 5 sponsor, which is managed