Students Staff

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Coronavirus (COVID-19) - immigration concerns


Please see the UKCISA website for further Coronavirus (Covid-19) infomation and advice for international students.

    Tier 4 students

    Working in the UK

    All Tier 4 students are subject to working restrictions whilst studying in the UK, this is a condition of your Tier 4 leave. This condition is complex and it is important you understand exactly what you are allowed to do and when, before you start working. Read our website for more information.

    The condition that allows you the right to work is dependent on you studying a full time course in the UK. Therefore, if for any reason you stop studying (other than successfully completing the course your CAS was issued for) you should not work at all and if you have been working must stop work immediately.

  • Working hours

    Your Tier 4 visa will show the amount of hours you can work per working week during term-time. We would expect our Tier 4 degree students to have been given the 20 hour restriction. If your visa says something other than 20 hours you must not exceed what it says and contact us for advice.

    The working week

    A working week is a 7 day period from Monday to Sunday.

    Maximum hours

    • You must not exceed the hours stated on your visa in any individual week unless it is an official University vacation for you.
    • you must not work more than a combined total of the hours stated on your visa in any individual week unless it is an official University vacation for you.

    Term time

    Your term time depends on your course, you must check exactly what the University considers to be your ‘term-time’ and when you are officially on ‘vacation’. Do not rely on the University’s key dates web pages as only the standard UG terms are shown, many of our courses have non-standard term dates. At your request, our team can produce an email for you to provide to your employer that shows your official term dates.

    Summer vacation

    • Essex Undergraduate students have a summer vacation, which for 2018/19 academic year starts on Saturday 29 June 2019 and finishes on Wednesday 2 October 2019
    • One year Masters students don’t have a summer vacation
    • Two year Masters students with work placement do not have a summer vacation in their 1st year or any vacations in their 2nd year
    • PhD students don’t have university vacations so should only ever work the term-time hours stated on their BRP

    Finishing this summer

    If you finish the course that your CAS was issued for and are awarded that qualification you can work full time after the course end date on your CAS, until your Tier 4 visa expires. However, you are still restricted by your Tier 4 visa conditions regarding the type of work you are allowed to do.

  • Types of work you are allowed to do

    Here are the types of work the immigration rules specify you can’t do as a Tier 4 migrant, including after you have finished your course.

    Types of work that aren’t allowed

    You must not engage in any of the following, paid or unpaid (including as an integral and assessed work placement unless the Tier 4 Policy Guidance allows an exception):

    • be self-employed or engage in business activity
    • be employed as a professional sportsperson including as a sports coach
    • be employed as an entertainer
    • take a permanent full-time job
    • work as a doctor or dentist in training, unless you are on the foundation programme

    We recommend you read the Tier 4 Policy Guidance for definitions and the UKCISA guidance, including their blog ‘A working definition’, for more information.

    Getting a letter for my employer

    Confirmation of term dates/vacations: At your request, our International Services team will email you the relevant information related to your specific course and you can supply this to your employer. Your employer doesn’t need a letter, the email from us is sufficient evidence.

    Work placement letter: If you are undertaking an integral and assessed work placement this must have been arranged via the University and your work placement provider/employer will need a bespoke letter from the University. Contact your Faculty Placements Manager in the first instance to request the letter.

  • What to do if you're worried you may have done something wrong

    If you are worried that you may have worked more hours than you should have or done a type of work that isn’t allowed, please seek independent advice immediately from an immigration lawyer, UKCISA or SU Advice.

    Breaching (breaking) the conditions (hours and type of work) of your visa is a criminal offence and can lead to prosecution, a fine and your visa may be curtailed (cut short) by the Home Office. Future immigration applications may also be affected. Our Tier 4 sponsor status could also be put at risk.

    As your Tier 4 sponsor one of our duties is to report suspected breaches of your immigration conditions to the Home Office. We will usually investigate first and let you know if a report has to be made.

European students

Keep informed and read the latest guidance from UKCISA regarding Brexit including their short videos.

  • EU Settlement Scheme

    EU Settlement Scheme - open to students

    The EU settlement scheme is now open for most students to apply.

    If eligible you will be granted pre-settled or settled status, depending how long you can prove you’ve been in the UK for.

    Find out more about the scheme on the UKCISA website and contact their advice line if you have any questions.

The UK’s future, post-Brexit, immigration system

The Government has published its white paper stating the intentions for the UK’s future immigration system once the UK has left the EU and are currently consulting on the detail of the new rules. It is intended that the new rules will be in place from the 1 January 2021 when the transition period for the UK/EU comes to an end.

We understand that there will be one system for all non-UK students to apply to and there will be no lowering of standards. EEA students are to be regarded as non-visa nationals and should be able to apply for entry to the UK at the border to study short courses of up to 6 months, currently the Short-term student route. For longer courses EEA nationals will need to apply for a student visa, currently Tier 4.

There will be a new post-study work route for those who complete a relevant degree inside the UK, this will enable graduates to remain in the UK to work or seek work for up to two years. We believe this new route will be called the Graduate Immigration Route and have published more details on our working after studies page.

We understand that the new GIR route may mean that that the ‘wrap-up’ period added to a student visa will stay the same as it is now, this contradicts the white paper which indicated that the wrap-up period would longer that the current Tier 4 rules allow.

More information is available on the UKCISA website.