Introduction, and about the ‘UKVI’:
As with every country, including the home countries of overseas/international students, immigration control agencies exist to protect against illegal immigration, criminal activity that crosses borders, and to regulate immigration for those coming to the UK. In the case of the UK, the immigration regulatory agency, a part of the UK Government’s ‘Home Office’ is called UK Visa & Immigration (UKVI).
The UKVI issues visas for entry to the UK, setting time limits/durations for the stay of the overseas national coming to the UK for short to longer term specified periods. This includes for international students studying or seeking to study in the UK.
The ‘Immigration Enforcement’ (formerly ‘Border Force’) agency (IE): This agency … for example if you were to breach your visa terms, such as through working illegally you are likely to be subject to IE operational activity, that is often carried out with coordination in some circumstances with the local police force.
The educational institute (university, college, language college) you study with, will have formal direct relations with the UKVI, that issues your visa and defines its start and end dates, as well as conditions on such matters as employment opportunity or its prohibition. In order to operate, they have to comply to and work with UKVI requirements, such as ensuring you yourself comply with the terms of your visa for the duration of your period of study – your university or college will have provided the note to the UKVI required for your visa to be issued.
You should be aware as far as possible, at all times, especially through requesting information on any relevant updates on conditions applied to your study visa, including right to work for a specified number of hours per week (short term / three months and under study courses do not automatically confer this right). You should request those updates or clarification on any points you may not be clear on from your university and college in the first instance via email, rather than just relying on an internet search of the vast UK Government (…gov.uk) information website.
The reason for this is that if at any point a problem arises in regard to clarity on UKVI visa updates or conditions, you will have a reference and evidence (through the email) of being careful on this important matter; at the same time you have made it clear to your university or college that in terms of answering questions or providing updates, they have the main responsibility to provide this support to the international student as a service for part of the fees they have paid.
As some international students will be aware, the ‘Windrush Scandal’ — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windrush_scandal — and other comparable scandals concerning abuses of process by some UK immigration officials at operational delivery level — including some nationalities having disproportionately poorer experiences of the UKVI and associated immigration compliance entities — show that still at the time of creating this information resource (early 2021), UK Immigration is still beset with quality of performance issues that you should be aware of.
As noted above, you should also at all times be aware that your university or college has a direct and formal relationship with the UKVI, as in the earlier period of 2020 in some universities’ cases proved controversial. This with their triggering contact much too quickly with the UKVI to inform that the given international student was no longer in compliance with his/her/their visa conditions because they had not paid a required university fee instalment. In such instances most of the time the student had asked for a delay of sufficient time to pay such instalments because of Covid 19 disruption in their home country impacting on receipt of funds or transfer of funds.
Directions of support for international students concerning UKVI communications or visa conditions compliance, or if the unexpected happens:
For your direct, local area guidance on UKVI / UK Immigration problems or clarifications on updates, your university international office or college’s international office will always be your first point of reference, but also your Student’s Union international office.
If you are still not happy with the guidance and support provided you can also contact (providing a record of your email correspondence with your university or college on your UK Immigration problem) on email, the following:
Citizens Advice (for signposting to appropriate ethnic minority & overseas nationals relevant immigration advice): https://www.citizensadvicebcp.org.uk/get-advice/
For advice related issues:
Telephone our Adviceline on
03444 111 444
If you need advice by email, please use the form on our –
Get Advice Page
One Community Hampshire and Dorset (for signposting to appropriate ethnic minority & overseas nationals relevant immigration advice): email@example.com
UK Nepal Friendship Society (for signposting to appropriate ethnic minority & overseas nationals relevant immigration advice): firstname.lastname@example.org
Dorset Race Equality Council (for signposting to appropriate ethnic minority & overseas nationals relevant immigration advice): Telephone: 01202 392954. Email: email@example.com
Nationally and online:
Your university or college, or the above organisations, can assist on national level appropriate international students UKVI / UK Immigration visa and immigration status support.
IAS UK: You can also contact the UK’s largest immigration advice providing group. The IAS UK (Immigration Advice Service UK) is a best practice organisation that provides reliable, affordable services by UK immigration lawyers. They are also LGBT+ community supportive, as quite often LGBT community members, including international students, experience issues with how their cases are handled by UK immigration services. Website: https://iasservices.org.uk/
Other: Immigration related police station registration
Once you have arrived and had time to settle into your accommodation and familiarize yourself with your new environment, you will be required by UK Immigration (in this case both UKVI and Immigration Enforcement) to register at a specified, local police station as part of your visa conditions. Your university or college will advise you of this too, and help with any questions you may have. There is nothing to worry about concerning this registration process, which is not a direct police and policing one, but because your study visa requires this to be done, and those at the police station will be immigration officers, not police.
You have a duty to comply with the conditions on immigration compliance that are provided on your visa. If you are not clear about any aspect of those conditions you need to seek clarity from your university/college first, as detailed above.
Others that have a duty of care to support you with information and guidance concerning complying with your visa conditions:
These will be the educational institute you study with but will also include your employer if you are allowed to work for a specified number of hours per week.