Latest news

Make sure you keep up-to-date by reading the latest news published by the UK Council for International Student Affairs, the Home Office and the British Council regularly.

Tier 4 rule and guidance changes

The Home Office amended the Tier 4 rules and guidance on 6 April 2016. There have been changes to work and study conditions and most significantly new requirements have been added about academic progression.

Alongside all the other sponsor requirements, a Tier 4 sponsor has to consider the Home Office academic progression rules before sponsoring a new or continuing to sponsor an existing student.

For you to make a valid Tier 4 application in the UK all Tier 4 requirements must be met and academic progression must be shown on the CAS. If our University can't show academic progression then we may not be able to continue to sponsor you or issue a new CAS or we may only be able to issue a CAS that can be used to make a new Tier 4 application overseas.

Switching to a longer course - Tier 4 Essex students

If you're a current Essex student who has switched to a longer course and you need to apply for further Tier 4 leave to complete the course, you'll have to make your application from overseas. This is because we won't be able to demonstrate academic progression on your CAS under the new Home Office rules.

If you have changed to a longer course, for instance added a work placement year, year abroad or have changed from a 3 year to 4 year degree course, you should make sure you're aware of what you must do and when. It will depend what date you applied for your current Tier 4 visa. You may not be able to start the new longer course until you have a new Tier 4 visa.

All immigration applications carry a risk of refusal so it's wise to consider the risks of refusal when considering switching course and to seek immigration advice.

New: right to rent checks – private housing

From 1 February 2016, if you're 18 or over and entering into a new contract with a private landlord to rent a room, flat or house, the landlord has to check your immigration status before granting you a tenancy agreement and every 12 months thereafter.

University halls of residence are exempt from this requirement. We will continue to check you have valid immigration permission to become and remain a registered student. If you're not fully registered and attending then you won't be able to remain in University accommodation.

Police registration

If your entry clearance sticker, BRP or Home Office decision letter says you must register with the Police then you have to do this within seven days of your arrival or, if you're collecting a BRP in the UK, within seven days of collecting it. If you don’t register with the Police you will be in breach of your conditions which can have serious consequences. You must seek advice immediately if you're in this position. Read the information on our Police registration page to find out more.

Travelling outside the UK

If you're planning on travelling during the University’s Easter vacation here are some tips.

Looking after your documents

Take great care of your passport and Biometric Residence Permit (if you have one) and take photocopies with you. You may not be able to come back to the UK for two weeks or more if your BRP is lost or stolen as you’ll need to apply for a new passport or travel document and then entry clearance. Read our guidance and contact us immediately if this happens to you.

Entering the UK

The Home Office has some useful guidance about entering the UK. Be ready at border control so that you can enter as quickly as possible and make sure you:

  1. have your passport ready and remove it from any cover
  2. remove sunglasses and hats
  3. if you're travelling as a family, go to passport control together. If you don't share the same surname or you aren't the parent of a child under 18, then you may be asked about your relationship

If you’re 18 or over and a UK or EU national with a biometric passport, you can use the ePassport gates to enter the UK and hopefully avoid the long queues at passport control.

Taking a holiday during your course

If it’s not a vacation for you and you need to be away from the University for a short time, you must request authorised absence from your academic department. The University’s Easter and summer vacations aren't standard vacation periods for all students. Masters students are not on vacation in the summer and PhD students and most English Language students don't have University standard vacation periods.

In line with our duties as a Tier 4 sponsor, the University must monitor attendance and report certain circumstances to the Home Office. Tier 4 students whose attendance is unsatisfactory will be investigated by the International Services Team and could face withdrawal from the University.

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Information correct at time of writing 11 May 2016.