Optional Work Placements for Tier 4 or student visa holders

Immigration rules that affect Tier 4 or student visa holding students applying for an optional placement

As a Tier 4 or student 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 studentservices@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 or student visa. As a general rule, most undergraduate students have 5 years in the UK in which to complete their degree level studies. Some courses are exempt from the five-year limit when you apply for permission to study them, including medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, architecture and some legal qualifications. If you later make another application to study a different course, the time you were granted to study these usually exempt courses will be counted. You can find full details of these time limits in the Home Office's Student and Child Student guidance.

For student applications made from 9.00 am on 5 October 2020, there are no longer any time limits on study at postgraduate level and above.  

If you are an undergraduate student, an optional placement year will use up some of your study time limit or could even take you over the study time limit. Please contact us before proceeding with your optional placement and we will calculate this for you.

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

As soon as you apply for an optional placement, your Tier 4 or student visa will no longer have enough time on it to allow you to complete your degree. You will need to extend your visa to cover the placement either before you start your placement, or before your current visa expires. 

Please note: The Home Office may be changing the option of extending your visa after your placement. Until further notice, it is strongly advised that you extend your visa before your placement starts.

You will need to make sure that you have thought about the following questions:

  • Have you applied for a new Confirmation 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 visa application fee, the Immigration Healthcare Surcharge (IHS), the maintenance (which could be up to £9,207 required for 28 consecutive 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.