University strikes this winter

06 November 2019

The University and College Union has announced eight days of industrial action, including strikes, due to take place between Monday 25 November and Wednesday 4 December 2019.

If the industrial action goes ahead, it is likely to affect many Tier 4 students.  As you know, your institution is obliged to monitor your attendance as part of its duties to the Home Office as a Tier 4 sponsor. 

Following last year's action in the education sector, the Home Office published guidance instructing institutions on how they should record attendance points that have been cancelled.  

Annex A of document 2 of the Sponsor guidance (named 'Sponsorship duties' and available on this page) provides examples of how reporting duties should be applied in various circumstances. Here, the Home Office states, in case study 10, that classes cancelled due to industrial action should not:

  • be treated as unauthorised absences, which means that they should be considered to be authorised absences
  • count towards the 10 missed expected contact points that would otherwise prompt an institution report to the Home Office.

This means that if any of your contact points, including classes, seminars, lectures or meetings with tutors and supervisors, are cancelled, the Home Office has told your institution that this should have no impact on your attendance record for immigration purposes. 

If your timetable or any of your lectures or seminars may be affected by the proposed strike action, and you are unsure or worried about how your institution will record any missed or cancelled contact points, please seek advice from the Immigration Advice team or Students’ Union at your institution.  

The Office for Students has guidance for students who might be affected by this industrial action.

The Office of the Independent Adjudicator has published a number of case summaries, illustrating how it dealt with a wide range of complaints (not just immigration-related) arising from last year's strikes.