Optional Work Placements for Tier 4 students

Immigration rules that affect Tier 4 students applying for an optional placement

As a Tier 4 visa holder you must seek advice from International Student Advice (ISA) before considering an optional placement year because some students will not be able to apply. 

You can make an appointment with an advisor in ISA by emailing international.advice@plymouth.ac.uk.

When you see one of our advisors in ISA, they will discuss the following with you:

Do you have enough study time to complete the optional placement year and still complete your degree?

There are time limits ('caps') on how long you can study with a Tier 4 visa. As a general rule, most undergraduate and postgraduate Tier 4 students have 5 years in the UK in which to complete their degree level studies (there are some exceptions). An optional placement year may take you over this limit. ISA will calculate this for you.


Do you have the financial resources and time to apply for your new Tier 4 visa?

As soon as you apply for an optional placement, your Tier 4 visa will no longer have enough time on it to allow you to complete your degree. Current legislation states you must apply and be granted a new Tier 4 visa before you start your placement. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you have the time to fly home, apply for a new visa and return to the UK before your placement starts? Remember you can only travel home during university vacations.
  • Do you have the time to wait for a new Certificate of Acceptance of Studies (CAS)? This is needed for your visa application. You apply for it through ISA and it can take 2-3 weeks to process.
  • Do you have the money for the return flights home, the visa application fee, the Immigration Healthcare Surcharge (IHS), the maintenance (which could be up to £9,135 required for 28 days) and to pay any outstanding tuition fees?


YES to all the above

If your answer is YES to all the above, ISA will confirm your eligibility to the Placements Team who will assist you finding a placement.

NO to any of the above

If the answer is NO to any of the above, you will not be able to apply for an optional placement year. Please contact ISA to discuss further.