During your studies | AECC University College
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Visas & Immigration: During your studies

During your studies

If you require immigration permission to study in the UK you must have valid immigration permission throughout your course, and abide by the immigration rules that are relevant to you.

Introduction

AECC University College holds a Student sponsor licence and this allows us to provide immigration sponsorship to students who are eligible for immigration sponsorship.  To maintain our Student sponsor licence we must abide by many duties which are contained within the Student Sponsor Guidance and this includes holding up to date and accurate contact details for you, keeping copies of your immigration documents, and monitoring your engagement with your course.

If you have immigration sponsorship from AECC UC, i.e. a Student visa, you have an important part to play in helping us to continue our sponsorship of your visa.  If we cannot comply with our duties we may need to consider withdrawing your immigration sponsorship so it’s important that you help us by responding to communications, providing the information we ask for, and maintaining high levels of engagement with your course by attending all your teaching events and meetings with academic staff.

If you have dependants with you in the UK please read the UKCISA website for guidance, and contact the UKCISA student advice line if you need assistance.

We have provided a lot of information on our webpages and if you have any questions we hope you can find the answer by reading the information below and following relevant links.  However, if you are unable to find the information you need please email studentvisas@aecc.ac.uk and we will do our best to help.

Right to Study Checks

One of our duties as a Student sponsor is to ensure that all students at AECC University College have the right to study in the UK.  This means that if you are not a UK or Irish citizen we must see original copies of your immigration documents and take a copy of them for our records.  You may be asked to provide electronic copies of documents during the Admissions process and you will be asked to bring the original documents with you when you come to your enrolment event.

If you renew or replace any immigration documents, i.e. passport or BRP, or if you switch into another type of immigration permission during your studies, please contact studentvisas@aecc.ac.uk and bring your new documents to Registry so that they can be scanned.

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Studying with a Student visa

Your responsibilities and immigration conditions

When you have been issued with a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) from AECC University College we become your immigration sponsor and this means you have additional responsibilities to us and to the Home office throughout your course.  The UKVI view is that your immigration sponsorship requires you be in the UK with the primary intention to study, and that you will attend all elements of your course in-person where possible.

It is important that as well as progressing academically, you attend and engage and continue to meet all the rules, requirements and conditions of your immigration permission. Make sure you understand what you must do to maintain your UK immigration status so you can complete your studies as planned. Read all our immigration and visas guidance and the UKCISA guidance about protecting your Student immigration status.

Conditions of your Student immigration permission

As a Student visa holder you are subject to certain visa conditions which you must adhere throughout the lifespan of your visa.  You must check that you have been given the correct conditions and inform the UKVI if you think your conditions are incorrect. UKCISA is a good place to start however please contact us if you aren’t sure.

If you do not comply with the conditions of your visa, whether intentionally or unintentionally, you may be in breach of your conditions and there could be very serious consequences for you, your current UK immigration status, and any future immigration applications.  You will also put the University’s Student Sponsor Licence at risk and may not be able to complete your course.  If you are concerned that you may have breached your visa conditions you should seek advice from an immigration law specialist as soon as possible.

Living and working in the UK

Immigration documents

Depending on where you are from, and when and how you applied for your visa, you may have an Entry Clearance Vignetter (sticker in your passport) and a BRP, or a Digital immigration status document.  More information about these documents is on our Admissions immigration page.

It is up to you to look after your immigration documents and if you have a BRP it is recommended that you store this in a different place to your passport, and don’t carry it around with you unless you need it to prove your immigration status.  If you have digital immigration status bookmark the Gov.uk page on how to generate a Sharecode so that you can access your document quickly if you need to prove your immigration status.

From 1 January 2025 all UK immigration permission will be issued in a digital format.  If you have a BRP, and if your course finishes after 1 January 2025 your BRP will have an expiry date of 31 December 2024.  In order to convert your immigration permission from BRP to digital status you will need to create an account with the UKVI – details of how to do this will be sent to everyone by the UKVI and we will be circulating information as well.

Working in the UK during your studies

Your right to work while you are studying with us in the UK will depend upon the type of immigration permission you have,  and your immigration documents will state the work conditions that apply to you (your Entry Clearance Vignette, BRP or Digital status).

If you are a European national with settled or pre-settled status in the UK you can work freely.

If you have a Student visa you should have a visa condition that allows you to work in the UK while you are studying however the number of hours you can work are limited so you must check your BRP or Digital status for details of the maximum number of hours and ensure you do not exceed this.  The type of work you can do is also limited and it is your responsibility to read and understand the rules so that you don’t breach the work condition of your visa.  We recommend that you read the UKCISA information and the UKCISA work blog for more information.  Breaching your visa conditions is a criminal offence and we want to support you in making sure you understand the limitations.

If the number of work hours listed on your visa document (BRP or digital status document) is incorrect you must take action to report the error and can only work the number of hours stated on your document until the error has been corrected and your document re-issued.

Work Placements for Student visa holders:

Many courses at AECC University College require you to undertake placements as part of your course.  The University must ensure that the placement meets the requirements of the Student Immigration Rules, and that it is an integral and assessed element of your course. If your placement takes place outside the University we must report the details of your placement to the Home Office.  Your placement can be paid or unpaid and you are not restricted in the number of hours you can work on placement, as long as the total placement length does not exceed 50% of your total course length.  The work condition restrictions do apply to the type of placement you can go on.  Your usual work condition applies alongside your placement so if you have part-time work this can continue as long as you stay within the restricted hours of the work condition.

Working in the UK after your studies:

It may be possible for you to apply for a different form of immigration permission which will allow you to remain the UK and seek work once you have completed your course at AECC University College.

Graduate route:

The most popular option for those holding a Student visa is the Graduate route.  This route allows eligible students to apply for a visa granting them an additional two years to remain the UK following successful completion of their course.  PhD students are granted three years.  As with all immigration related matters there are rules around eligibility for the Graduate route so it’s important you understand, and abide by, the criteria if you are hoping to apply for a Graduate visa.  There is a lot of guidance available and you should seek advice from an immigration law specialist if you need to.

UKCISA guidance:

Advice/Working/Graduate-route: https://ukcisa.org.uk/Information 

Home Office rules and guidance:

When you have successfully completed the course for which your CAS was issued, and if you meet the residency requirement for the Graduate route, we will automatically inform the Home Office.  You should not submit your Graduate route application until you have received confirmation from us that we have reported your completion.

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Studying with a visa that is not sponsored by AECC University College

As part of our Admissions and Enrolment process we will check that your immigration permission allows you to study with us in the UK, and if your immigration permission expires before the end of your course you must provide us with evidence that you have applied for new or extended immigration permission before the expiry of your existing permission.

Once you have a new immigration document you should provide this to us for our records.  If we cannot confirm that you have ongoing valid immigration permission that allows you to study with us we may suspend your enrolment until we can confirm your status.

Changes to your course, your immigration status, or your immigration documents

New immigration documents

If you renew or replace any immigration documents, i.e. passport or BRP, or if you switch into another type of immigration permission during your studies, please let us know by email to  studentvisas@aecc.ac.uk and bring your new documents to Registry so that they can be scanned.

Extending your course end date

If your course end date is extended, for example as a result of needing to undertake reassessment, and if you will not be able to complete your course before your current Student visa expires, contact us for more information about whether you are eligible to apply for a new visa in order to remain in the UK with immigration sponsorship under the Student route, or if there are alternative options.

Completing your course early

If you complete your course earlier than expected please let us know because we may need to report your early completion to the Home Office.

Returning to the UK for Graduation

Depending on when you complete your course your existing Student visa may be valid for long enough to allow you to remain in the UK and attend your Graduation ceremony.  If your Student visa expires before Graduation, and if you have not been granted new immigration permission, for example under the Graduate route, you will need to return for Graduation under the Visitor visa route.

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