Most Tier 4 students can work up to 20 hours a week during term time, although some are restricted to 10 hours, and some have a work prohibition. Tier 4 students are advised to check their visa vignette or biometric residence permit for their work conditions, as well as to read the University’s advice to its Tier 4 students regarding working.
The UK authorities take work conditions on Tier 4 visas very seriously and could take very severe action against those who breach them. For example, if a student exceeds their permitted number of work hours in a working week (Monday to Sunday), or undertakes a type of employment which is not permitted, they may be given a prison sentence, or be removed from the UK, or both. If a student is removed from the UK, they may face a ban on re-entry for a certain period of time which could prevent them from successfully completing their studies. Likewise, employers face equally severe financial and criminal penalties for employing Tier 4 students illegally. Employers like the University of Warwick, who are themselves Tier 4 sponsor license holders, are obliged to report any breaches of Tier 4 conditions occurring at the University to the Home Office, including any involving their own Tier 4 students. These, or any other breaches discovered by the Home Office, could cause the loss of the University’s Tiers 2, 4 and 5 licenses resulting in them no longer being able to sponsor non UK/EEA national students and employees.
In light of the above, I’m sure that you will understand that the University must take a zero tolerance approach to illegal working on campus for the protection of its entire staff and student body. The University is determined to prevent work breaches from happening on campus and for this reason some new measures have been put in place to mitigate the risk of these occurring.
How will these changes affect Tier 4 students employed by the University?
From 22nd June 2018, before a Tier 4 student can be engaged by the University, Tier 4 students will need to declare whether or not they have ever been engaged previously by the University or Unitemps. If the answer to this question is ‘no’, and this information is verified by the University against its own records, the student will have a right to work check as a new starter and allocated the maximum number of permitted hours for a Tier 4 student, normally 20 hours per week. This means that the student will be able to receive payment for up to 20 hours worked during each week, Monday to Sunday, but never in excess of this. If the answer to the original question is ‘yes’, the University will need some additional time to process this request, as it will need to gather information from the two different payroll systems across the University and to cap the number of hours to be worked, and paid, via each of these, during a working week. To give you an example, if you will be undertaking some teaching hours in your academic department as well as working for Unitemps, the University will fix the number of teaching hours you will be permitted to undertake in order for you to be able to work for up to the remaining number of hours permitted by the legal limit for Unitemps, which will also be fixed at this point. This ensures that it is impossible for you to work in excess of the permitted number of hours.
If you wish to start a new work assignment, and you are aware that you have previously worked at the University, you are advised to start this administrative process at least one week in advance of the assignment start date, which will be approximately the time it will take for your request to be processed. It is also important that enough time is allowed for this process to be completed before the start of the working week during which you will be engaged. Subsequent changes to the number of hours allocated to individual Tier 4 students across systems will take up to 28 days to be effected.