As your Tier 4 sponsor, the University is required by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) to monitor your attendance and engagement with your course.
The University announced that from 9.00am on Monday 23rd March, student access to UAL’s academic buildings has been suspended due to the Coronavirus outbreak. Therefore, face-to-face teaching has been cancelled.
Exceptionally, you will not be required to be in the UK for the rest of this academic year in order to continue your course. Instead, you will be permitted to study remotely and this will not affect your visa status providing you continue engaged with your course.
If you are studying at UAL on a Tier 4 visa, this guidance will explain to you what attendance and engagement are required and how this will be monitored under the current Coronavirus outbreak.
You must attend all compulsory online sessions, meet deadlines for submission of coursework and communicate with academics and other relevant staff members via Moodle, email or video conference for instance.
As long as you remain fully engaged with your course, the University will not withdraw Tier 4 sponsorship and your Tier 4 visa will still be valid.
Attendance and engagement monitoring
Key contact points
Attendance and engagement is monitored by key contact points. Contact points has been subject to change due to Coronavirus outbreak.
At UAL, our contact points for attendance and engagement monitoring under the current circumstances may include:
- Moodle engagement. For instance, Moodle quiz or Moodle Forum.
- Online tutorials: They can be via Skype, Microsoft Team or similar technology.
- Scheduled Skype/Microsoft Teams/phone meetings and email communication between academics and students.
- Electronic submission of coursework
Contact your Course Administration team to request a list of your key contact points for attendance and engagement monitoring during the Coronavirus outbreak.
How attendance is going to be monitored if I was doing a work placement?
UAL Diploma in Professional Studies and remote work
If your employer has allowed you to undertake your work placement from home, you must provide email confirmation from your placement provider that they agree to this and give examples of the type of work/tasks you will be doing.
You must agree with your Placement Tutor how your work will be monitored e.g. weekly or monthly email (it depends on structure of the placement) and will be required to give examples of tasks completed or Skype/Microsoft Team meetings undertaken.
You must confirm by email to your Placement Tutor that you will continue to work on your academic work and to submit to published deadlines.
Please note that even if you have completed the necessary number of placement weeks to receive relevant credits for the placement, you must remain engaged with your course until the end of the academic year in order to retain your Tier 4 visa. This means, you may be asked for instance to complete a Self-Initiated Project.
Ending your UAL Diploma in Professional Studies early
If you or your employer ends your work placement early, you still need to engage with your studies until the end of the academic year in order to retain your Tier 4 visa - this can be by a Self-Initiated Project.
You should contact your Placement Tutor or Course Administration team for guidance on what sort of project is suitable and how your engagement is going to be monitored for the rest of the term.
Ending your UAL Diploma in Professional Studies beyond the end of the academic year
Due to the structure of the placement, for some students, assessment deadlines fall outside of the end of the academic year. If you are one of those students, please ensure that you continue engaged with your placement until the submission date in order to keep your Tier 4 visa.
Other Short-Term Placements
All placement units have an alternative project work brief which can be completed through remote learning. You will need to remain engaged with your course until the end of the term in order to retain your Tier 4 visa.
Prohibition of self-employment
Be reminded that Tier 4 students are not allowed to be self-employed, freelancers, sell goods or services (including through websites or applications) or set-up/run any sort of business. This means, you are not permitted to invoice a company or a person for the work that you are going to do as part of the work placement or the Self-Initiated project (SIP). If you do it, you will be in breach of the conditions of your Tier 4 visa.
What will happen if I miss a contact point?
If you miss two consecutive contact points, you will receive a warning email and you will be asked to comply with the next contact point, or risk being suspended from your course.
If you miss three consecutive contact points, or if your attendance and engagement continues to be irregular, the Immigration Compliance Team will need to consider taking more serious action:
- The Immigration Compliance Team will liaise with your College to investigate the nature of your absence.
- If your absence has been sustained, you will be suspended from your course and your access to online College facilities will be removed until further notice.
- If your College confirms have been attending your course but have still missed three contact points, you will receive an email from the Immigration Compliance Team.
- You will have to explain the reason for your absence, and attach evidence to support this, if applicable.
- If you do not reply to this email within one week, you will be suspended from your course and your access to online College facilities will be removed until further notice.
- You will have one week to respond to the suspension email, to discuss re-joining your course.
- If we do not hear from you, you will be withdrawn from your course. You will receive an email notification that this has been actioned.
- The University will then report your withdrawal to UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI), and your Tier 4 visa will be curtailed (cancelled). You will have to leave UK within 60 days from the date of this notice.
Please note: A lack of attendance could undermine your academic progress and continued unauthorised absences may lead to withdrawal from the University. If this happens, your withdrawal will be reported to the Home Office and you will be required to leave the UK.
What if I am unable to attend due to Coronavirus?
If, during term time, you are unable to engage with compulsory online sessions due to factors related to Coronavirus, you must email your Course Leader and Course Administration team. Exceptionally, you will not be required to submit Authorised Absence Form to cover the period of your absence.
UKVI is aware that some Tier 4 students may be prevented from attending their studies due to:
- Illness caused by Coronavirus
- the need to serve a period of quarantine or
- the inability to travel due to travel restrictions caused by Coronavirus
Please note normally we can only support absences for up to 4 weeks during term time.
What if I am unable to attend during term time?
If you have any queries in relation to authorised absence, you must contact your Course Administration Team as soon as possible.
What if I am unable to engage remotely with my studies for up to 2 weeks during term time?
If you have other illness (not Coronavirus) or other reasons that prevents you from engaging online with your studies for up to 2 weeks during term time, you must inform your Course Leader and your Course Administration Team. You may be required to produce evidence to support your absence.
What if I am unable to attend College for longer than 2 weeks during term time?
If you have other illnesses (not Coronavirus) or other reasons that prevents you from attending College for longer than 2 weeks during term time, you must complete an Application for Authorised Absence form (PDF 125KB). This must be returned to the Immigration Compliance team by emailing Tier4Compliance@arts.ac.uk with evidence to support your absence. Please note that Tier 4 Colleges email addresses are NOT monitored anymore and will be closed down shortly.
The Immigration Compliance team will assess your application and supporting evidence, and confirm by email to your UAL email account the result of the application. We will require written confirmation from your Course Leader in support of your absence and cannot make an authorisation without this.
If you know in advance that you are going to be absent from College for longer than two weeks during term time, you must complete and submit the Application for Authorised Absence form (PDF 125KB) no later than 10 working days before the absence. Requests made after this time may not be authorised.
If an application for authorised absence is not authorised, any missed key contact points will be marked as non-attendance.
What is considered an authorised absence?
An authorised absence will be considered within 4 categories:
- Illness. Extended periods of illness must be accompanied by evidence if possible under current circumstances e.g. medical certificate, GP’s note.
- Mitigating circumstances e.g. bereavements, childcare.
Please note, we can only support absences for up to 4 weeks during term time. If you’re absent for longer than 4 weeks you may need to consider taking Time Out.
Changes to your circumstances
Remember to inform the Immigration Compliance team of any changes to your circumstances by emailing: Tier4Compliance@arts.ac.uk
Changes may include:
- If you have lost your passport or visa or it has been stolen
- If you decide to withdraw or take a break from study
- If you switch to a different immigration category during your studies
- If your visa or passport expires during your course and you receive a new one
- If you have a visa refusal.
For immigration and visa advice, contact the Student Advice Service.