Studying on a Tier 1 or Tier 2 visa

Information for Tier 1 & Tier 2 visa holders who intend to study

If you are in the UK in a work related immigration category (i.e. you hold a Tier 1 or a Tier 2 visa), you may undertake study that fits around your work. There is no condition which prohibits study. Therefore you are free to undertake part time or full time study whilst you are working. You should however be mindful of the following issues:

Work/study balance
Tier 1 & Tier 2 visas are granted to enable you to find and take up employment in the UK. Therefore you should be able to prove that you are fulfilling this remit and are engaged in full time employment. It is suggested that people holding a visa awarded for work purposes ensure that they can actively demonstrate that working is their main reason for residing in the UK.

Leaving and re-entering the UK
You should be aware that immigration officials you encounter, for example, if you leave the UK and re-enter at any point during your stay might want to see evidence that you are undertaking employment in the UK and therefore fulfilling the remit for which the visa was issued. If you are not able to do so and can only provide evidence that you are studying, they may consider that your circumstances have changed since you applied for a visa in a work category. This could result in them cancelling or curtailing that visa on the basis that you should be in the UK with a Tier 4 student visa.

Length of the course and visa expiration date
Ideally, you should be able to complete your course well within the leave that you have been granted (i.e. the expiry date of your current Tier 1 or 2 visa). This is because it may be difficult for you to extend your Tier 1 or 2 visa or to fulfill the requirements to switch into the Tier 4 (General) student category.

Switching into the Tier 4 student category
If it is necessary to switch into the Tier 4 student category, you may have to return home to do so and must also be able to fulfill the maintenance requirements that this category demands. Please note that applicants switching into Tier 4 from other categories, in most cases, must therefore be able to show £9135 for their living expenses along with their tuition fees for the relevant period.

Students holding a Tier 4 visa are only able to study on a full time basis so if a switch to this category is intended then this should be taken into consideration. If you intend to switch into the Tier 4 student category you should seek immigration advice from the Immigration & International Student Advice team in all instances.

What do you intend to do afterwards?
If you intend to remain in the UK to work after your current visa expires, you must ensure that you are meeting the earning thresholds and any other criteria that will enable you to apply for further leave to remain under the category for which you want to apply. Details of these requirements can be found on the Home Office website.

Important implications

It is important that you understand the implications of undertaking part time or full time study whilst holding a Tier 1 or Tier 2 visa. If you do not have enough time on your current visa to complete your course of study, you should not assume that you will automatically be able to extend your visa in order to do so. The University will not be able to intervene on your behalf if your visa extension is refused.Therefore it is recommended that you consider the above factors carefully before you start studying.