Students and recent graduates who have Tier 4 immigration permission (leave) can undertake a full-time sabbatical officer post. You will need to take time out of your study or you can undertake the post after your course has finished. During your sabbatical officer post, you are also allowed to take extra employment for up to 20 hours a week. This is confirmed in the Tier 4 policy guidance.
You might also be able to do the sabbatical officer post on a part-time basis, but you must not work more hours than are allowed by your current Tier 4 leave, usually 20 hours a week in total, and you must also continue studying full time.
Who needs to make a Tier 4 application
Students and recent graduates whose current leave does not allow work as a sabbatical officer need to make a Tier 4 application. You must be granted Tier 4 leave before you can start your job. You will also need to make a Tier 4 application if your current immigration permission allows you to start the sabbatical officer job, but expires before the end of the post and you will not be able to apply to extend in that category.
If you are in the middle of your course and you currently have Tier 4 leave, you can work full time as a sabbatical officer even if the work condition written on your entry clearance or BRP says something different. You will probably need to apply to extend your Tier 4 leave at some point so that you can do your work and then finish your studies. You should discuss with your college or university whether you should make that application before, during or after your sabbatical officer post.
If you have finished your studies and you have Tier 4 leave, you can start your sabbatical officer post on your current leave but you will need to apply to extend it in order to complete the post. You should plan ahead for this because you must meet many of the same requirements as students who apply under Tier 4. You need a confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) from your Tier 4 sponsor and you need to meet a reduced Tier 4 funds requirement - see Tier 4: funds and English for details .
Your Tier 4 sponsor's duties
The college or university where you are studying, or where you have
recently finished studying, must act as your Tier 4 sponsor, even though
you will be working with the students' union or the NUS. This means
that it is important that you or the students' union or NUS talk to your
college or university as soon as possible after election so that
everyone is clear about what happens next.
Your Tier 4 sponsor is required to report to the Home Office that you
will be working as a sabbatical officer for the relevant period. Your
Tier 4 sponsor remains responsible for you and is required to work with
the students' union or NUS to ensure that you are carrying out your work
and that you are not in breach of your conditions during this period.
Your current Tier 4 funds
If you currently receive a loan or are financially sponsored by a government, employer or other organisation, always check the terms and conditions of that financial sponsorship before you decide to stand for election as a sabbatical officer. In some cases, you might have to start repaying your loan if you take a break from studies or you might be in breach of your agreement if you do not return home or to your employer when your studies in the UK have ended.
One option if you have to start repaying a loan as soon as you take a break from studies is to wait and stand for election after you have completed your course. You must take up the sabbatical officer post in the academic year following completion of your course, and no later.
A potential alternative if you are not permitted to stay longer in the the UK than the duration of your course is to find out from your students' union if part-time work as a sabbatical officer is possible. This is an option only if your current Tier 4 leave allows you to work and you can continue your studies on a full-time basis. You can work full time in your vacations.
Funds for your Tier 4 application
You cannot use your future earnings to show that you meet the Tier 4
maintenance requirements. If you have started work before you make your
immigration application you can use the money you have already earned to
show you meet the requirements. All work must have been carried out
when you had immigration permission that allowed you to do that work.
The level of funds you must show depend on whether you will be working either in London or outside London. See the Tier 4 policy guidance for details of how
the Home Office defines 'London'. If you will be working for the
National Union of Students (NUS) in London, you will have to show the higher
amount, even if you have not been studying in London.
You need to
show that you have two months' worth of funds. This means you must have £2530 (£1265 per month) if you are in London or £2030 (£1015 per month) if you
are not in London.
You must hold your funds at the required level for a continuous
period of 28 days before the date of your Tier 4 application.
For full information about the information your evidence must
contain, see our detailed information about Tier 4 funds and the Tier 4 policy guidance. The Home Office will refuse your
application if your evidence does not meet all requirements
Tier 4 English language requirements apply to sabbatical officers as well as to students. Check how the confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) states that your Tier 4 sponsor assessed your English language. If it mentions qualifications, you must provide original certificates or transcripts as evidence of those qualifications. If the CAS does not refer to qualifications, you are not required to submit evidence of English language.
Where to apply, length of leave and your BRP endorsement
Before applying you should check whether you are able to make your Tier 4 application in the UK, or whether you will have to allow time to leave the UK and apply in the country where you usually live.
You should be granted Tier 4 leave for a period to cover the duration
of the sabbatical officer post, up to 12 months. You should also be
granted up to one month's leave before the post starts and up to four
months' leave after your sabbatical officer post ends.
The endorsement on your biometric residence permit (BRP) will be the
same as other Tier 4 student endorsements. This means that it will not
state on it that you are now a sabbatical officer and it will state that
you are restricted to working 20 hours a week in term time. This is
because the Home Office regards work as a sabbatical officer as a
'course of study' and the 20 hours a week of work refers to employment
you can undertake in addition to your full-time hours of work as a
sabbatical officer. You can work full time as a sabbatical officer with
Study during your sabbatical officer work
You might want to continue studying your Tier 4 course while you work as a sabbatical officer.
This is possible only if you can continue studying it on a full-time basis. The Home Office rules do not permit you to study a Tier 4 course on a part-time basis, whether before, during or after your sabbatical officer work, and your sponsor cannot allow you to do this.
The course for which your Tier 4 leave was granted does not meet the definition of 'supplementary study' in document 2 of the Tier 4 sponsor guidance: "Tier 4 students are allowed to undertake supplementary study in addition to their main course of study, such as evening classes, or short courses studied full-time during vacation periods". However, you would be able to study a different course while you work if it meets this definition of 'supplementary study'.
If it is important for you to finish your course within the original time frame, you have the option of standing for election after your course instead of during your course. You must take up the post in the academic year immediately following the end of your course.