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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 Borders Agency (UKBA). We have been recognised by the UKBA as a “Highly Trusted Sponsor”.

In being granted our licence, a number of requirements are placed on the University by the UKBA. 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 UKBA 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 UKBA 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.

Passport Checking

  • 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, this will take place wb 9th September in the central atrium during smartcard collection.
  • For continuing students, this will take place wb 16th September at the Registry Information Point on Level 1.
  • Any student who has not submitted their passport for checking by 30th September 2013 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.

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 AY2013-14, 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, 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 UKBA 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.

Surname A-L

Surname M-Z

Oct.

Wb 7th, 21st

Oct.

Wb 14th, 28th

Nov.

Wb 4th, 18th

Nov.

Wb 11th, 25th

Dec.

Wb 2nd

Dec.

Wb 9th

Surname A-L

Surname M-Z

Jan.

Wb 20th

Jan.

Wb 27th

Feb.

Wb 3rd, 17th

Feb.

Wb 10th, 24th

Mar.

Wb 3rd, 17th

Mar.

Wb 10th, 24th

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 2014-15  Academic Year.

If during the Summer you are required to undertake study as part of your course please contact rilo@qmu.ac.uk for advic e 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 rilo@qmu.ac.uk for confirmation.

From 5th May 2014: Postgraduate – Taught Students

The majority of students will be working to complete their dissertation or remaining coursework. During this period, you are still regarded by the University and the UKBA as being a full-time student. Therefore we ask that you sign in on a monthly basis. We would ask that students sign in on the last week of every calendar month. This will be:

Wb 26th May; 23rd June; 30th July; 25th August

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 rilo@qmu.ac.uk as we will be able to notify the UKBA 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 rilo@qmu.ac.uk 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 rilo@qmu.ac.uk for confirmation.

Postgraduate – Research Students (e.g. PHd)

Over the Summer period you are still regarded by the University and the UKBA as being a full-time student. Therefore we ask that you sign in on a monthly basis. We would ask that students sign in on the last week of every calendar month. This will be:

Wb 26th May; 23rd June; 30th July; 25th August

We recognise that some students may travel away from Edinburgh over the Summer period for a short vacation or to undertake research or data collection. You should complete an authorised absence form previously circulated by the Research Degrees team which will exempt you from signing  during the period when you are not at the University. Please note that if you are undertaking research away from the University for a prolonged period of time then you will be expected to keep in touch by email or telephone with your supervisor to ensure that your studies are progressing and that you have the support available to you that you need.

If you intend on completing your research from your home or other country and do not intend on returning to the UK please email rilo@qmu.ac.uk as we will be able to notify the UKBA of this and therefore all reporting duties will cease. Please note this may mean any remaining leave on your student visa will be cancelled.

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 UKBA 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 rilo@qmu.ac.uk 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 UKBA website

Contact Details

Please keep your contact and personal details (address, email address, telephone/mobile number, etc) up to date using the QM:u Student Portal

Immigration Status (or Passport and Visa)

You must ensure that you have had your passport and/or visa copied by the Recruitment & International Liaison Office at the start of each academic year, and also immediately each time you renew your passport and/or visa.

If your visa/immigration status changes from a Tier 4 (General) Student to any other category or vice-versa you must inform the Recruitment & International Liaison Office immediately.

If you need to extend your student visa you must contact the Recruitment & International Liaison Office to request a Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS).

Visa and immigration information CAN ONLY BE GIVEN by staff from the Recruitment & International Liaison Office

Police Reporting Duties

Some students are required to register with the police within seven days of arrival in the UK. Please check your visa or biometric residence permit to see if this condition applies to you. If you are required to register with the police, you are also required to report any changes such as change of address or a visa extension. Failure to comply with your reporting duties to the police is a criminal offence and risks a fine or report to UKBA by the police authorities.

Authorised Absence

You are required to attend all of your classes/meetings and submit all course work on time unless prior agreement is obtained from the University. If you have been absent or are requesting an authorised absence, please complete the Absence form and return it to the School Office

Absence Form

For absences due to illness for over six days or absences covering periods of assessments/examinations a Medical Certificate must be provided. Proposed absences for more than 5 days covering any part of an examination period must be supported by written confirmation.

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

Contact us

For further information, please contact rilo@qmu.ac.uk. Alternatively you can call us on +44 131 474 0099.


 

 


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last modified 12/09/13 Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh EH21 6UU - Tel: +44 (0)131 474 0000
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