Engagement monitoring

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) require the University of Plymouth to monitor the attendance, engagement and absences of all sponsored Tier 4 students.

This applies to every Tier 4 student who is being sponsored under the University of Plymouth’s sponsor license, regardless of their faculty or programme of study, and includes students studying at University of Plymouth International College (UPIC).

Tier 4 students are expected to engage fully with their studies and have the ability and intention to progress and succeed on their programme of study. As a Tier 4 visa holder your visa was issued for the purpose of full time study in the UK and you should ensure that your studies are always your first priority. You should make every effort to continually progress on your course with the aim of graduating successfully.

Faculties within the University have their own attendance monitoring policies and procedures, and the UKVI Compliance Team will also be made aware if a Tier 4 student receives a warning through these processes. However, this policy takes precedence with regard to Tier 4 students.

How is my engagement monitored?

The UKVI Compliance Team receives attendance data daily and weekly from University systems. These systems include S3, S4, GradBook, coursework receipting, ADB, and exam attendance. Your attendance and engagement is documented on these systems by various means, including student ID card scanning, manual input by your module leader or other academic staff, or student check-in via the University of Plymouth App. The data is documented and analysed for gaps showing insufficient attendance and engagement. Insufficient attendance or engagement will trigger the escalation process.

What is the escalation process?

If your engagement is insufficient, you will be sent a warning email. If you are sent a warning email please do not ignore it. If your attendance does not improve significantly after the warning email, you will be asked to attend a meeting with UKVI Compliance, International Student Advice (ISA) and a representative from your faculty or programme. You will be asked to provide evidence of any extenuating circumstances that have affected your attendance, such as evidence of health problems or family circumstances . If there is no justifiable reason and evidence for your lack of engagement, it is likely that we will stop sponsoring you under Tier 4.

What does it mean if my sponsorship is withdrawn?

If your sponsorship is withdrawn, we will be required to report this to UKVI. This reporting must take place within 10 working days of the decision being made. You will be notified by email once the reporting has been carried out. Please read the email carefully, as it contains important instructions regarding your right to stay in the UK and where to go for immigration advice, but you will usually be required to leave the UK within 60 days of the date the reporting was carried out. In most cases, having your sponsorship withdrawn will affect your ability to obtain a CAS from the University of Plymouth in future.

What are my engagement responsibilities under Tier 4?

  • You must ensure that you are always engaging with your programme of study and fulfilling all course requirements.
  • You must ensure your contact details are kept up to date via the University of Plymouth student portal at all times.
  • You must check your University email regularly and respond to emails sent from academic and professional services staff, including the UKVI compliance and ISA teams.
  • You must bring your student ID card to all timetabled sessions.
  • You must not give your student ID card to anyone else or ask any other student to present it for you while you are absent from a session. If you attempt to create false information about your attendance and engagement, the University may stop sponsoring you, and any other students involved, under Tier 4.
  • If you lose your student card, it is your responsibility to get it replaced as soon as possible. A lost student card is not an acceptable excuse for extended absences. If you are currently waiting for a replacement student ID card, you must make your attendance known to the staff members leading your lectures or seminars, so that your attendance can be recorded manually.
  • You must ensure that you are aware of the semester dates for your course. This is so that you are not unnecessarily absent during semester time and you are not in violation of your Tier 4 working restrictions.


Are there any programme specific attendance requirements?

If you are studying at UPIC (University of Plymouth International College) and are on the UPIC stages of your degree, you will also be subject to UPIC engagement and escalation policies. When you progress to the University stages of your degree, University policies and procedures only will apply.

Some degree courses have minimum attendance requirements set by external bodies, particularly in healthcare professions and some other disciplines. If you are being sponsored by an external or Government body, they may also set requirements for your engagement and attendance. Please ensure you check with your faculty and are aware of any specific additional requirements from the start of your programme.

What if I am on a work or study placement, work based leaning or a field trip?

If the work placement or period of work based learning is an integral and assessed part of your degree programme, then we will obtain the required information from your faculty or the placements team to ensure UKVI requirements are met and will then report the placement to UKVI.

Whilst you are on work placement the compliance team will email your employer or mentor once a month to check your engagement. If you are on a healthcare professions degree programme we may also receive time sheets.

If you are on a study placement or exchange programme outside the UK, the process is similar and we will contact your tutor at that institution once a month to check your engagement. If you are on a field trip accompanied by member(s) of staff, additional monitoring may not be required, depending on the length of the field trip.

Tier 4 students should not commence any work placement or similar without prior authorisation from the university and UKVI compliance team, as work that is not a part of your degree programme could affect your Tier 4 visa.

What about my study location?

Aside from when on an authorised placement, all study that is part of your course must take place on university premises or at a temporary location that we have authorised.

Students on taught programmes should intend and expect to remain in Plymouth throughout each semester, leaving the UK only in official University vacation periods if wished. They should aim to arrive at the University promptly at the start of new semesters and academic years, to ensure they are engaging with their programme when required.

Postgraduate research students must request mobility through GradBook in advance if they plan to leave the UK to collect data, attend a conference or continue their research from their home country.

Postgraduate taught students who wish to complete or undertake some of their dissertation from home, must also inform the compliance team before leaving the UK.

If the university is continuing to sponsor the student under Tier 4 we expect engagement data as usual on a monthly basis, from monthly supervisory meetings recorded on GradBook (PGR students) or monthly meetings with their supervisor recorded on S4 or elsewhere (PGT students). It is the student’s responsibility to arrange these meetings with academic staff.

In some instances, for example if the length of mobility requested is excessive, or if your studies will be completed whilst in your home country, we may stop sponsoring you under Tier 4, after checking the situation with you and your faculty.

What if I need to be absent during semester time?

If you need to be absent during semester time, such as for a family or medical reason, please complete the Absence and Mobility Form. It is recommended that you speak to your personal tutor or programme manager before submitting the form to UKVI compliance, so they are aware you have requested absence and can approve it quickly, if they are happy to do so. Submitting the request does not guarantee your absence will be approved.  

Wherever possible, you should let us know about any absence before leaving the UK, by submitting the absence form, but we recognise this may not be possible in an emergency. In this situation, please let us know about your absence as soon as you can.

What should I do if I am experiencing problems that affect my attendance?

If you are experiencing difficulties, please speak to an advisor in ISA (drop-in sessions in the Student Hub) or the UKVI Compliance Team as soon as you are experiencing problems. We aim to take early intervention, so that students are given the opportunity to seek support and address problems that may be affecting their attendance. We will always try to support you in completing your studies, but we must also adhere to UKVI requirements as a Tier 4 sponsor.

What are the attendance expectations for my programme?

Below outlines our general expectation of attendance based on your programme type. Please note this list is not exhaustive, and is meant to provide an indication of expected attendance levels.

Undergraduate:

  • attendance at lecture, seminar, in-class test, lab work, field work, exam attendance, coursework submission, tutorial meeting, project presentation, etc
  • attendance at all required sessions every week, submission of work as required.

Postgraduate taught (in taught period):

  • attendance at lecture, seminar, in-class test, lab work, field work, exam attendance, coursework submission, tutorial meeting, project presentation, etc
  • attendance at all required sessions every week, submission of work as required.
Postgraduate taught in dissertation period:

  • monthly meeting with dissertation supervisor, or other contact with supervisor (in some cases the UKVI Compliance team) to demonstrate engagement / progress, submission of dissertation
  • monthly meetings recorded on University systems, submission of work as required.     

Postgraduate research:

  • monthly interaction with supervisory team recorded on GradBook. If the student is waiting for their viva and no interactions are required, they will be required to “check in” monthly with ISA
  • monthly meetings recorded on GradBook, submission of work as required.

UPIC students on UPIC stages of degree programme:

  • attendance at lecture, seminar, in-class test, lab work, field work, exam attendance, coursework submission, tutorial meeting, project presentation, etc.
  • attendance at all required sessions every week, submission of work as required.

Pre-sessional English Language programmes:

  • taught classes, 20 hours per week 
  • daily – 100% attendance is expected, submission of work as required.

Repeating students:

  • as per the above, depending on programme type. If the university feels there is not enough required engagement in the repeat period, we may opt to stop sponsoring the student or not issue a further CAS. This is assessed on a case-by-case basis
  • as per the above, depending on programme type and what is being repeated.

Referred students:

  • this will vary depending on the referred work, examples of what is expected are shown here. If the university feels there is not enough required engagement in the referral period, we may opt to stop sponsoring the student or not issue a further CAS. This is assessed on a case-by-case basis   
  • submission of referred work, attendance at exam etc.

Healthcare Professions students (additional requirements):

  • if you are studying on some Healthcare Professions degree programmes, we may also receive theory and practice time sheets from your faculty, and information from the Plymouth Online Practice Placement Information (POPPI) system
  • as per the above for undergraduate or postgraduate taught courses.

If you require any further information about our engagement monitoring procedures, or have any questions, please contact UKVI Compliance to discuss.