CURRENT VERSION

Information for International Students Running for Campus Officer Positions

Please note this information is for general guidance about your rights and responsibilities and does not constitute immigration advice. If you require more details about your rights or what action to take then please contact International Student Support at the University for the Creative Arts (UCA)

International students are currently able to undertake roles as Students Union sabbatical officers at UCA. However, if you need a visa in order to work and study in the UK, such as a Tier 4 (General) visa, there are immigration implications which you must be aware of if you are thinking of standing for election.

If you are an EEA or Swiss national (except if you are from Croatia) then you do not need to consider these immigration implications. If you are an international student (not from the EEA/Switzerland) and also not studying on a Tier 4 (General) visa, please speak to your Specialist Adviser at Gateway Services to confirm your work permission for a Campus Officer position. Remember that all immigration applications made within the UK must be made before the expiry date of your current visa. Other considerations may include:

  • If you are a sponsored student, you will need to discuss your plans with your sponsor before standing for election to a sabbatical post as there may be implications for the terms of your sponsorship.
  • If you want to take a sabbatical year during your studies, you should talk to your department or academic supervisor in case there are implications for your academic progression.

TIER 4 VISAS AND WORKING AS A SABBATICAL OFFICER

You can work full time as a Sabbatical Officer, as long as your Tier 4 (General) visa is valid for the duration of this position. Your university will need to contact the Home Office to advise them of a change to your circumstances. If your visa is valid for the start of your work as a Sabbatical Officer but it needs to be renewed in order to complete your term, you must apply to renew your visa before it expires. In this case, once you have applied for renewal, you may continue to work in this position whilst you wait for a decision from the Home Office. Please note that you will need to meet the normal financial requirements of extending your Tier 4 visa – and you will not be able to count future earnings from your sabbatical position as evidence – before you will be granted an extension. If you are applying at the end of your studies, please remember that you may need to apply for a new visa before you can start the position.

If you are returning to complete your studies after finishing your work as a Sabbatical Officer, you will need to ensure that your visa is valid for the duration of the rest of your studies. Please see the below information for further advice on this, depending on your course.

Currently, the Home Office states in its guidance that time spent working as a Sabbatical Officer does not count towards any cap on the years you may study in the UK under a Tier 4 Visa. You are also allowed to work additional hours to your role as a sabbatical officer (if it is a full time position), as stated on your BRP.

As a Sabbatical Officer you are required to show to your employer that you are undertaking the work necessary of the position, and that you are in regular attendance. The SU is also required to check immigration permission before starting the role.

UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS

If you are an Undergraduate student and are elected for a sabbatical year during your studies, the University will report this to the UK Border Agency as a change to your circumstances as it will affect the end date of your course. You will then need to make an application for further leave to remain (extend your visa) to enable you to complete your studies once your sabbatical year is concluded.

If you wish to do a sabbatical year at the end of your studies you will need to apply for further leave to remain in the UK under Tier 4, which is the student immigration route. The University will issue you with a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) giving details of your sabbatical year. You will then be given time in the UK as a student to undertake your sabbatical. If you stand for re-election and are re-elected, you can apply for a further period of Tier 4 permission.

TAUGHT POSTGRADUATE STUDENTS

If you are a taught postgraduate student, your visa will usually expire in the January following the completion of your course. You will not have the option to do a sabbatical year during your studies as most Masters Courses only last one academic year. You will need to think carefully about your immigration options before standing for election as the elections will take place after your visa expires.

You will need to return to your home country before the expiry date of your visa and apply to return to the UK under Tier 4 if you are elected. This will mean that you won’t be in the UK for the elections so it might lessen your chances of being elected.

RESEARCH POSTGRADUATE STUDENTS

If you are a Research Postgraduate student and wish to stand for election you will need to consider your immigration options. If you are elected for a sabbatical year during your studies, the University will report this to the UK Border Agency as a change to your circumstances as it will affect the end date of your course. You will then need to make an application for further leave to remain (extend your visa) to enable you to complete your studies after a sabbatical year.

If you wish to do a sabbatical year at the end of your studies you will need to check the timetable for elections as compared to your visa expiry date. If these dates overlap it may limit your options.

IN GENERAL

If your current visa expires after the election period, you would need to apply for further leave to remain (extend your visa) in the UK under Tier 4 which is the student immigration route. The University will provide you with a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) giving details of your sabbatical year. You will then be given time in the UK as a student to complete your sabbatical time in office. If you stand for re-election and are re-elected, you can apply for a further period of Tier 4 permission.

If your current visa expires before the election period, you will not be able to apply from within the UK under Tier 4 to cover your sabbatical year as you will not have been elected until after your visa expires. This means that the only option for you is to return to your home country before the expiry date of your visa and apply to return to the UK under Tier 4 if you are elected. This will mean that you won’t be in the UK for the elections so it might lessen your chances of being elected.

FURTHER INFORMATION

The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA), collaborating with NUS, have put together this guidance: http://www.ukcisa.org.uk/International-Students/Immigration-/Student-Union-sabbatical-officers

UCA International Student Support – http://community.ucreative.ac.uk/InternationalSupport

 

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