Requirements for the University under the Student visa system
The University of Sheffield holds a Student visa sponsor licence which enables us to sponsor international students under the Points Based Immigration System to study on our courses. In order to retain this sponsor licence, there are a number of UKVI regulations we have to adhere to.
The University must adhere to the following requirements, as set by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI):
- Keep accurate contact details for sponsored students.
- Keep scanned copies of passports, visas, Biometric Residence Permits (BRPs) and Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificates for sponsored students, according to the University record retention schedule.
- Only give Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) numbers to students capable of finishing their chosen course.
- Students must be in receipt of a valid visa that permits study, or provide evidence that they have submitted an appropriate visa application.
- Monitor students' attendance and engagement with their academic programme.
- Give UKVI the details of overseas agents: any third party, in the UK or another country, that has helped it to recruit students.
The University also needs to tell UK Visas and Immigration about any sponsored student who:
- defers their studies and is no longer actively studying, such as students taking a leave of absence, depending on its length
- breaches any of their Student visa conditions of stay
- is deemed withdrawn or excluded, including for non-attendance, according to UKVI guidance
- has been refused a visa application
- finishes their course earlier than expected
- fails to register within their registration period, including non-enrolment and deferral
- changes to a different immigration permission
- starts a work placement or study abroad period
- has a significant change of circumstance, such as a course change
Any reports to UKVI have to be submitted within 10 working days of the change, via the UKVI sponsor management system.
The University is required to report certain changes which affect the student record. Some of these reports are for UKVI's reference only however, some reports will result in the UKVI cancelling the student's visa, for example, a long period of leave of absence. If the UKVI cancel the student visa, they will write to the student to confirm this and notify them of the need to leave the UK within a certain timeframe.
In most cases, students are told when a report is sent to UKVI. They'll be given immigration advice by central services before the report is made, to explain how this might affect their visa and what action they need to take.
We also need to keep up to date with other requirements of the licence.
The University has to tell UKVI about certain changes to the institution, such as:
- changes to key personnel
- changes of address or name
- adding or removing a site, exceptional arrangement or teaching partnership
- significant financial changes like insolvency, mergers or civil penalties
- changes to the Educational Oversight body or to the status of any registrations by a governing body
- pending criminal convictions
If the University has any partnerships that include classroom-based teaching and where sponsored students will be recruited, we need to add those to our Student visa licence. For instance, if we introduce a new programme delivered in collaboration with another institution, the University may need to apply to UKVI to add the partner institution to our licence.
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