Visas & immigration
Quick Link to New Information relating to Doctorate Extension Scheme
We are proud of the support we provide to International Students studying with us, and the contribution those students make to the University community. The policies and procedures set out below are designed to ensure that International Students can continue to enjoy their education at Queen Margaret University whilst at the same time satisfying the legal requirements placed on them and the University by the UK Government.
An overview of University & Student Responsibilities
In order to allow International Students to study at the University, the University holds a Tier 4 Sponsor Licence with the UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI).
In being granted our licence, a number of requirements are placed on the University by the UKVI. These include:
- Undertaking appropriate action at the recruitment, application and selection stages to ensure that offers are made to genuine students.
- Keeping a copy of each student’s passport and visa documents as well as holding safely and updating each student’s contact details.
- Reporting to the UKVI any student who fails to enrol on their course within the enrolment period.
- Reporting any unauthorised student absences (including missing expected interactions or contacts).
- Reporting any changes in students’ circumstances (e.g. temporary or permanent withdrawal, reduction in the length or hours of the course)
In addition to the UKVI requirements, the University has a responsibility to ensure all students are progressing positively through their student career at QMU. The policies and procedures outlined below will allow us to identify where positive interventions are required to ensure that students are being fully supported during their time at Queen Margaret University.
- ALL International fee paying students, regardless of their nationality or visa status, must provide their passport/visa documents to the University for checking.
- For new students starting in September, this will take place wb 9th September in the central atrium during smartcard collection.
- For new students starting in January, this will take place week beginning 12th January at the Registry Information Desk.
- Any student starting in January who has not submitted their passport for checking by 30th January 2015 will have their student smartcard access restricted which will prevent them from accessing IT and LRC services until such time as their passport has been checked.
- If your visa status changes at any time during your studies (such as receiving a new visa or having it extended) you are required to bring the original Visa to the Registry Information Desk as soon as possible.
Progression & Attendance Registration
- Upon checking of your passport, you will be advised whether you will be required to follow the progression and attendance procedures outlined below.
- In general, students with limited leave to remain in the UK will be required to follow the procedures outlined below e.g. Tier 4 Student Visa; Dependants Visa etc. International Fee paying students with unlimited leave to remain e.g. holders of British, EU or EEA passports will not normally need to follow these procedures after providing their passport for checking.
- If you have limited leave to remain (or are advised by RILO that these procedures apply to you) you will be required to register fortnightly at the Registry Information Point on Level 1.
- In AY2014-15, you will be asked to register at any point between the hours of 0930-1200 and 1400-1630 Monday to Friday on the following weeks depending on your surname:
- Registration will incorporate a checking of your photo-id (smartcard) against the information held on the student record, confirmation of your current address, confirmation of your current phone number and your signature to confirm attendance.
- If you are on placement or an authorised absence during one of the registration periods you will not be required to register in person, although your attendance on placement will be confirmed with the placement provider.
- If you fail to register, and are not on placement or an authorised absence, you will be contacted to remind you that you must register. If you fail to register within two weeks of any of the dates outlined above you will have your smartcard access restricted until you have met with a member of the Recruitment & International Liaison Office team to discuss the situation.
- If you fail to respond to any communication within one month of any of the dates outlined above, you will receive written communication from the University informing you that the University is unable to continue to act as your sponsor with regards to your visa and immigration status. We are required to report this to the UKVI within ten days. This will likely result in your having to withdraw from your studies.
- In addition to the fortnightly registration, the University also monitors all students (not just International) submission of assignments and attendance at examinations. We will proactively engage with students to ensure they and the University are compliant with their visa and immigration rules.
Sign in dates for Semester One
Monday 6th October to Friday 10th October
Monday 3rd November to Friday 7th November
Monday 1st December to Friday 5th December
Sign in dates for Semester Two
Monday 19th January to Friday 23rd January
Monday 2nd February to Friday 6th February
Monday 2nd March and Friday 6th March
After the last sign-in in March and when you have undertaken any examinations that you are scheduled to sit you will formally either be on vacation or at the end of your studies and therefore you will not have to sign in after this point. If you will be returning to study in September you will be notified at the start of the year of the process we will have in place for 2015 - 16 Academic Year.
Summer - For Postgraduate and Research Students ONLY
Monday 13th April to Friday 17th April
Monday 18th May to Friday 22nd May
Monday 15th June to Friday 18th June
Monday 10th July to Friday 14th July
Monday 17th August to Friday 21st August
If during the Summer you are required to undertake study as part of your course please contact email@example.com for advice on your visa and immigration requirements. You should include details of what study you are undertaking, for how long and in which location. If you are required by Exam Boards to repeat, resit or resubmit any part of your course you may be required to recommence sign in processes again bit please consult with firstname.lastname@example.org for confirmation.
If you are on a block placement over the Summer which clashes with the dates above you will not need to sign in when on block placement.
We also recognise that some students may opt to complete part or all of their dissertation overseas or away from Edinburgh.
If you will be temporarily leaving Edinburgh but intend on returning to complete your dissertation then you should complete an authorised absence form ( http://www.qmu.ac.uk/school-office/Forms/Student%20Absence%20Form.doc ) which will exempt you from signing during the period when you are not at the University. RILO may contact you in such instances to confirm that your current visa status is still valid and that we are able to continue sponsoring you.
If you intend on completing your dissertation from your home or other country and do not intend on returning to the UK please email email@example.com as we will be able to notify the UKVI of this and therefore all reporting duties will cease. Please note this may mean any remaining leave on your student visa will be cancelled.
Once you have submitted your dissertation and have completed all remaining coursework you will no longer be required to sign-in. We would kindly ask that you email firstname.lastname@example.org to notify us that your dissertation has been submitted and that your studies have come to an end otherwise we will continue to contact you.
If you are required by Exam Boards to repeat, resit or resubmit any part of your course you may be required to recommence sign in processes again bit please consult with email@example.com for confirmation.
QMU Email Account
The University uses your QMU Email address to communicate with you, and will in particular use this to contact you in relation to visa and immigration matters. You MUST regularly check your QMU Email account, including deleting old emails, as otherwise your inbox may exceed its size limit and you will be unable to receive communications from the University. Failure to do so will not be accepted as a reason for non- compliance with a request.
Failure to adhere to Progression and Monitoring procedures
You will be proactively contacted by the University by email if you do not attend any of the registration points highlighted above. This will allow you a short time to rectify the situation prior to your smartcard access being restricted.
If restricted, your smartcard access can only be reinstated by RILO upon confirmation that you have satisfied any outstanding issues.
If you fail to respond to any communication or repeatedly do not adhere to the progression and attendance procedures you will receive written communication from the University informing you that the University is unable to continue to act as your sponsor in terms of your visa and immigration status and we are obligated to report this to the UKVI within ten days. This will likely result in your having to withdraw from your studies.
Other Important Visa and Immigration Regulations
There are a few basic things that all students should be aware of and this includes:
- International students (with limited leave to remain) can. in the majority of cases. only study full time. In other words, part-time study may violate your visa conditions.
- If you suspend your studies for a fixed period of time or withdraw from your studies, and you have been issued with a CAS by us, we will most likely no longer be able to sponsor you and you will need to return to your home country. Failure to leave the UK will violate your visa conditions.
- International students (On Tier 4 Visa’s) must not work more than 20 hours per week in term time (which includes resit periods during vacation or the writing up period for taught postgraduate and research degree students). The University cannot continue to ‘sponsor’ a student whose progress is not satisfactory. The maximum number of attempts you are permitted on an individual module is 3.
Further Advice and Guidance
- Visa and immigration advice can only be given by the Recruitment & International Liaison Office. Students should not rely on advice from family, friends, or other staff in the University.
- Students can make an individual appointment by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling in to the drop-in advice sessions on Mondays 1400-1700 and Thursday 1000-1200 UKCISA have produced a useful page of useful information for Tier 4 students’ visa responsibilities
You will also find the complete list of information relating to your visa conditions on the UKVI website
We are proud of the support we provide to International Students studying with us, and the contribution that you make to the University community. In order to allow International Students to study at the University, we hold a Tier 4 Sponsor Licence. In being granted our licence, a number of requirements are placed on the University and on international students.
Immigration Advice and Guidance
- Visa and immigration advice can only be given by the Recruitment & International Liaison Office. You should not rely on advice from family, friends, or other staff in the University.
- You can make an individual appointment with the RILO office by calling in to the drop-in advice sessions on Mondays 1400-1700 and Thursday 1000-1200 at the Registry Information Point or by emailing email@example.com
Checking of qualifications
The University is required to check original copies of the qualifications which were used to obtain your place at the University. All new international students should bring original copies of your qualifications with you to your smart card collection
If you miss these dates please bring your passport and/or qualifications for checking as soon as possible to the Registry Information Point and by Friday 4th October 2014 at the very latest.
Attendance monitoring - Registration with Registry Information Point
All Tier 4 sponsored international students who have been issued a Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS) by the University are required to attend all classes and to sign in regularly to confirm their attendance. Students must sign in at the Registry Information Point at any time between 0930-1200 and 1400-1630 Monday to Friday on the following weeks.
Each time you register we will check your smartcard against the information held on the student record, confirm your current address, and ask for your signature to confirm that you are attending classes.
If you are on placement or an authorised absence during one of the registration periods you will not be required to register in person, although your attendance on placement will be confirmed with the placement provider.
Failure to register or attend classes
You will be contacted by the University by email if you do not bring in your passport and qualifications for checking or if you do not register or attend classes when required. You will be given a short time get in touch with RILO.
If you do not respond, we will restrict your smartcard access. If this happens, your smartcard access can only be reinstated by RILO once you have satisfied any outstanding issues.
If you fail to respond satisfactorily you will receive written communication from the University informing you that the University is unable to continue to act as your sponsor in terms of your visa and immigration status and we are obligated to report this to the UKVI within ten days.
This will likely result in your having to withdraw from your studies.
Other Important Visa and Immigration Regulations
There some additional things that all international students on a Tier 4 Visa who are sponsored by the University should be aware of:
- You can only study full time. Part-time study may violate your visa conditions.
- If you suspend your studies for a fixed period of time or withdraw from your studies we will no longer be able to sponsor you and you will need to return to your home country. Failure to leave the UK will violate your visa conditions.
- You must not work more than 20 hours per week in term time (which includes resit periods during vacation or the writing up period for taught postgraduate and research degree students).
- The University cannot continue to ‘sponsor’ you if your progress is not satisfactory.
Doctorate Extension Scheme
From 6 April 2013, students completing a PhD or other doctorate-level qualification at an HEI in the UK will be able to apply to stay in the UK on a Tier 4 visa for 12 months after they complete their course, under the Doctorate Extension Scheme. This scheme is designed to allow full-time Tier 4 students who complete a PhD/doctorate a longer period to find work with a Tier 2 employer, set up as an entrepreneur, or to gain practical work experience in their field. It will operate within Tier 4, reflecting the fact that it is a sponsored scheme offering an extension of leave to existing students.
The document linked to below is designed to help potential applicants and sponsors understand the purpose and scope of the Doctorate Extension Scheme. It outlines the scheme’s main features and provides answers to some frequently asked questions. It should be regarded as a supplement to the Immigration Rules and Tier 4 policy guidance for migrants and sponsors, which set out the full details of participants’ responsibilities. It is not a living document, so sponsors and applicants should consult the guidance on any future adjustments to the scheme.
Doctorate Extension Scheme Overview
For further information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively you can call us on +44 131 474 0099.
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