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University of Bath

Academic engagement monitoring for Student and Tier 4 visa holders

Find out more about the current academic engagement monitoring policy and process for Student and Tier 4 visa holders

Academic engagement monitoring

UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) have introduced concessions to normal attendance monitoring requirements for Student and Tier 4 visa holders for the 2020/21 academic year in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the increased use of distance learning.

In the 2020/21 academic year, teaching at the University of Bath will follow a blended learning model, with all students able to study 100% distance learning if necessary, to allow flexibility throughout the pandemic.

As such, online engagement will be monitored in place of engagement by physical attendance. Monitoring via physical attendance will be reviewed for the 2021/22 academic year.

Our Academic Engagement Monitoring Policy (Student and Tier 4 visa holders) 2020/21

As a Sponsor, we are responsible for monitoring Student and Tier 4 visa holders' engagement with their studies, and reporting any changes to the Home Office. In line with UKVI guidance, the University of Bath has an academic engagement monitoring policy. This policy is applied consistently across the organisation. The policy sets out our duties as a Sponsor and your responsibilities as a visa holder.

Who we monitor engagement for

This policy applies to all undergraduate and doctoral students, including visiting students and scholars, studying under the sponsorship of the University of Bath on a Student or Tier 4 visa.

Visa applications for a postgraduate taught course (lasting less than 13 months) made on or after 5 October 2020 do not qualify to apply under the PGT Tier 4 pilot scheme, which ended on 5 October 2020, and these students will be required to adhere to the academic engagement monitoring policy.

Why engagement is monitored

Engagement is monitored so we can:

  • provide appropriate advice and/or counselling to students who do not engage with their studies regularly
  • comply with our responsibilities as a Sponsor, and maintain this status
  • make sure we provide accurate information on funding to external government bodies

How engagement is monitored

As a student at Bath, you are considered to be academically engaging if you are actively and consistently following your course of study.

In the 2020/21 academic year, your academic engagement will be monitored through online engagement points, whether you are studying via a blended learning model or fully distance learning (from the UK or overseas).

  • if you are on an undergraduate course or a postgraduate taught course, you are required to meet a minimum of one engagement point per week during the course of the academic year. Online engagement points may include logging into online learning portals, attending virtual lectures and tutorials, and online submission of coursework or assessment

  • if you are on placement, fieldwork or study abroad programme, you are subject to alternative electronic engagement points which are monitored by the Student Immigration Service

  • if you are a doctoral student, your engagement points include meetings recorded by your supervisor once every three months, six-monthly progress reports and other electronic means via which the Student Immigration Service may assess your engagement with your research

Alternative arrangements may be made for courses where standard engagement points are not possible. Departments are encouraged to make contact with the Student Immigration Service as soon as possible if alternatives must be found.

Lack of engagement (taught students)

The Student Immigration Service will review the engagement of all taught Student / Tier 4 visa holders retrospectively on a weekly basis to ensure you are engaging regularly.

Consecutive engagement points

If you have failed to engage at all for more than 7 consecutive calendar days, you will be asked to request an authorised absence if the period during which you will not be able to meet your engagement requirements will continue.

Where no authorised absence is recorded, if you fail to engage at all for a minimum of 14 consecutive days, your Director of Studies will be informed. Your Moodle access will be removed after 21 consecutive days of non-engagement and a final warning issued to you after 28 consecutive days of non-engagement.

If you fail to engage at all for 30 consecutive days, we will withdraw sponsorship of your Student / Tier 4 visa and your Director of Studies may be asked to follow the Procedure to respond to poor attendance. Withdrawal of sponsorship of your visa will likely lead to your visa being cancelled. Consequently you will be required to leave the UK.

Non-consecutive engagement points

If you have failed to meet one engagement point per week in any two weeks, the Student Immigration Service will contact you to ask if there are any reasons why you have not met your required engagement points, or any issues we should be aware of. After failing to meet one weekly engagement point for any three weeks, your Director of Studies will be informed.

After any four weeks of non-engagement, you will be required to meet with your Director of Studies to agree on future steps. If you do not engage with your Director of Studies, fail to follow the steps agreed or your Director of Studies has concerns, they will be asked to follow the Procedure to respond to poor attendance.

If, after the above steps have been followed, the University deems that you should either be suspended or withdrawn, the University will notify the Home Office, who will then curtail (cancel) your visa.

Lack of engagement (doctoral students)

If you have failed to meet any two engagement points, the Student Immigration Service will contact your doctoral supervisor who will be asked to confirm by e-mail within two weeks that you are engaging with your studies.

If any three engagement points are recorded as missed, your Director of Studies will be informed and you will be asked to meet with the Student Immigration Service to explain your non-engagement.

If you have failed to meet four or more engagement points, you will be asked to meet with both your Director of Studies and the Student Immigration Service.

The above meetings may be conducted virtually.

Lack of engagement (all students)

If at any stage, your Director of Studies or doctoral supervisor cannot confirm that you are engaging with your studies, they will be asked to follow the Procedure to respond to poor attendance.

If your reason for lack of engagement is due to COVID-19, then discretion will be applied.

Consequences for poor engagement

You will be contacted by your department if your engagement is poor. This is to find out if there is a problem and whether you require any support. You should respond immediately to any contact you receive from your department or any other member of staff.

In particular circumstances, and where appropriate, the University may decide that it is necessary to follow the missing student protocol

The consequences of not attending and engaging with your course are severe. Attendance may mean physical attendance if required or virtual attendance (such as online meetings, seminars, lectures, etc.)

University of Bath Regulation 3.1 states:

"Students shall attend regularly. If a student's attendance is not satisfactory, or if a student is unable to attend for legal reasons, the Director of Academic Registry, authorised to act under power delegated by Senate, and following consultation with the student's Faculty or School, may determine that the student be precluded from continuing their studies and, where applicable, their registration be terminated. A student who is prevented for legal reasons from attending will, in the first instance, normally be suspended for a period not exceeding 12 months. Where registration is terminated, a person who ceases in this way to be a student of the University may make representations to the Vice-Chancellor, who may exercise statutory power to re-admit the student."

Support for disabilities or illness

If you are unable to meet your engagement or attendance requirements due to disability or illness, an alternative will be arranged if appropriate.

If you have any queries regarding this, please contact your Director of Studies.

EU / EEA and Swiss nationals on the Student visa

From 1 January 2021, EU / EEA and Swiss nationals coming to the UK for the first time, and wishing to study for more than 6 months, will be required to obtain the new Student visa which replaces the Tier 4 visa.

Any EU / EEA or Swiss national sponsored by the University of Bath for a Student (or Tier 4) visa will be subject to the monitoring requirements outlined in our Academic Engagement Monitoring policy and detailed above.