The Impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on Tier 4 (General) Student Visa holders
Rights of international students studying in the UK under this Visa
If you are an international student studying in the UK under a Tier 4 (General) student visa, the Government has confirmed that universities will continue to sponsor you, during the suspension of the face to face teaching of your course. You are advised to continue with independent study of your course, using the online resources that have been provided by your university. This includes a “Virtual Learning Environment” or online lectures. This also includes attending any sessions which are being taught online.
If you are planning on submitting an application to extend your Tier 4 student visa within the next 6 months, we advise on beginning your application now. We are available to assist you in the making of this application, and to support you through the entire application process.
We strongly recommend starting your application now, because of the current uncertainty over the capacity of institutions like the Home Office, solicitors’ firms, universities and embassies to process the relevant documents and other requirements needed for this application type, within the usual timeframe. Please do not hesitate to speak to our experts or caseworkers for further details.
If you have been diagnosed with, or had symptoms of, Coronavirus
If you are a student who has been diagnosed with coronavirus, or suspect that you may have symptoms of this disease, then you are advised to follow the Home Office guidance. This guidance includes contacting NHS 111 and self-isolating. For further details, please see the following contact details outlined below for your ease:
- Home Office “Helpline” for Coronavirus: 0800 678 1767 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm). Calls to this number are free of charge; and
- Email: CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk
If you are a Tier 4 student who is unable to attend your university course due to coronavirus, the Home Office has stated that your absences will be classified as “authorised”. This means that your Tier 4 sponsorship will not be negatively affected.
Universities such as The University of Law, BPP University and Lancaster University have advised Tier 4 students to complete an absence form. Alternatively, you should contact the relevant visa compliance team at your university for further guidance.
Returning to your home country due to Coronavirus concerns: Impact on your visa
If you wish to return to your home country due to any concerns over coronavirus, then the Home Office have confirmed that they will still sponsor you. This will not negatively impact your current visa. As mentioned above, if you find yourself in this situation then you are advised to complete an absence form. Alternatively, you should contact the relevant visa compliance team at your university for further guidance. When completing a form of this nature, an example of absence details that could be required include:
- Departure date;
- Details of travel (e.g. Flight number and Airline);
- Your reason(s) for leaving the UK; and
- Your planned return date to the UK.
Please note that this list is not exhaustive. If you are a Tier 4 student visa holder who is considering a return to your home country, then you should check with your university for the exact details that they require, for completing an absence form.
Universities will then use these details to keep an active record for the Home Office. This information is vital for you to continue the sponsorship under the Tier 4 category, while you are outside of the UK.
Returning to the UK on your existing Tier 4 Student Visa
If you have given all the details of your departure to your university, and to your university’s relevant visa compliance team, then, then you should not have any issues because your Tier 4 Student visa will still be valid.
Useful links providing further details
Further details can be found on the following sites:
Next steps: What we can offer you
Our business partners at Immigration.UK, we are here to assist you with any relating to your current Tier 4 student Visa, and any other visa related issues. Please do not hesitate to get in touch to speak to one of our experts who can guide you through the process. Please note that this is a fast-moving situation, and we will keep you updated on developments as they unfold.
Astons is a leading global immigration advisory firm with offices in London, Beijing, Moscow, Dubai and Limassol (Republic of Cyprus) and offers residency & citizenship investment solutions worldwide including UK, Turkey, Vanuatu, EU & the Caribbean.
For further information or to discuss your personal circumstances in a private consultation, please contact Astons at email@example.com or call +44 207 292 2977