We have written this brief guide to help international students and recently elected students' union sabbatical officers who are subject to immigration control understand the immigration requirements they need to meet in order to start and carry out their work.
On 5 October 2020, the term 'Student permission' replaced 'Tier 4 (General) student leave'. The term 'Student' includes both students who apply for immigration permission on or after 5 October and holders of Tier 4 (General) student immigration permission.
The Great British Mag has a good explanation of what UK students' unions do and how they and their International Student Officers can help you. Throughout this guide we include guilds and associations when we use the term "students' union".
We also aim to provide information for students' unions to help them advise their new sabbatical officers on immigration matters and to work together with a student's sponsor. All parties need to work together closely and it is helpful if student sponsors and students' unions have a standing arrangement as to how they will support international students who win elections, even if that has not yet happened in their institution.
We have divided the guide into two main sections but all information is of relevance to everyone involved with the process and it helps to have an idea of the requirements each person or organisation has to meet. Student sponsors can find information about sponsoring Students' Union sabbatical officers in our Immigration manual for UKCISA members.
We are grateful to the following individuals and organisations for their help in compiling this information: Nick Entwhistle and Daniel Stevens of the NUS; Claire O'Leary of the University of Warwick; Jo Holliday of the University of Sheffield Students' Union; Ruth Newman of Kent Union and Tony Williams of the University of Kent; Neil Gaskin and Abbie Lacey of Swansea University.