The Academic Engagement Monitoring Policy for Student and Tier 4 visa holders 2022/23 has now been published.

Students and staff are expected to familiarise themselves with the content of the policy, which takes effect from 26 September 2022, and with its relevant implementation process.

The Student Immigration Service (SIS) has devised a comprehensive Frequently Asked Questions guide which students and staff may find useful. The guide will be updated regularly.

The academic engagement monitoring policy has been designed to ensure that any potential welfare issues, which may be indicated by poor attendance or poor engagement, are identified promptly so that appropriate support can be provided. It was devised in line with UKVI requirements.

It is important to note that the Higher Education sector is expecting further guidance from UKVI and our policy may need to be revised to align with any updated Home Office guidance. The Student Immigration Service will keep you abreast of any further changes as they come in.

Key changes

Remote studying is not permitted on a Student or Tier 4 visa and students holding these visas are expected to be in the UK and attend on-campus sessions as soon as their course starts, including attending studio or lab sessions in person.

Blended learning from within the UK is permitted, as long as students also regularly attend in-person sessions on campus.

Accordingly, undergraduate and postgraduate taught students (including students in the first year of an Integrated PhD) in 2022/23 will be monitored through a combination of online and physical engagement points, evidencing both genuine online academic engagement and physical attendance.

Key points about the new policy

  • Regular physical attendance will be monitored for taught students to meet UKVI requirements and to mirror the University's learning format.

  • Alongside the monitoring of physical attendance, online academic engagement will also be monitored.

  • During term-time, students on taught courses (undergraduate students, postgraduate taught students and students in the first year of an Integrated PhD programme) will be required to meet a minimum of one engagement point per week (this may be an online or a physical engagement point). They will also be required to meet a minimum of one physical engagement point in any two-week period.

  • Online engagement points will include Moodle coursework submissions, Panopto lecture attendance (minimum of 50-minute viewing in any 24-hour period), as well as attendance at Zoom meetings and Teams meetings.

  • Physical attendance will be monitored through the use of the SafeZone app.

  • Doctoral students will continue to be monitored through in-person meetings with their supervisors and progress reports.

  • Visiting doctoral students on a Student / Tier 4 visa will also be monitored. The Student Immigration Service will contact their supervisor quarterly to ask them to confirm they are actively engaging with their research and regularly attending on-campus research activities.

  • Students on placement, fieldwork or study abroad programme will continue to be subject to alternative electronic engagement points monitored by the Student Immigration Service.

  • It is important to note that, if a student stops engaging with their studying for more than 60 days after SIS contacts them for lack of engagement, we are required to withdraw sponsorship of their Student / Tier 4 visa. Robust processes are in place at the University of Bath to ensure lack of engagement is identified early and students have time to re-engage before the University is required to withdraw sponsorship.

The SafeZone app

The University of Bath’s SafeZone app is free to download for students. It is already used across the University to support emergency messaging. Throughout 2021/22, its use was already expanded to allow taught students to evidence academic engagement through physical attendance at teaching / study sessions (including lab, studio, workshops, etc.). In 2022/23, this will continue.

In order that students meet their physical engagement points, they are required to check-in using the app at the start of their study / lab / studio / teaching / lecture / workshop session.

Students having difficulty downloading or using the app can refer to our detailed instructions or bespoke online guide.

Students experiencing technical issues with the SafeZone app may log in a ticket on TopDesk with the University's Digital, Data & Technology Group (DD&T).

Staff engagement

Alternative engagement points must be agreed between the department and the Student Immigration Service for specific groups of students if the standard online engagement points do not apply to them (e.g. if students will not be using Moodle, Zoom meetings, Teams meetings or Panopto). Please liaise with the Student Immigration Service as soon as possible, to ensure appropriate arrangements are in place before teaching starts.

The Student Immigration Service will monitor Student / Tier 4 visa holders’ overall engagement, however the primary responsibility for monitoring student attendance and engagement lies with academic departments and all staff need to be mindful of this.

The University is required to meet strict reporting deadlines by the Home Office, and also needs an audit trail where a potential problem is identified. The cooperation of all staff is required to ensure that the University remains compliant with its duties as a Sponsor.

Student engagement

All students on a Student / Tier 4 visa are required to meet the engagement monitoring requirements attached to their visa and need to familiarise themselves with the policy. The Student Immigration Service will contact students with more detail, however the responsibility to abide by the academic engagement monitoring policy ultimately lies with each student.