IST Terms and Conditions of Service

The International Student Team (IST) is dedicated to providing a high quality service to all of our international students and visitors. Please refer to our Terms and Conditions of Service for the framework in which our immigration advice is given. 

Regulation of Immigration Advice

In the UK, the provision of immigration advice is regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC).

The OISC is responsible for ensuring that all immigration advisers fulfil the requirements of good practice. The IST carries out its immigration advisory services in accordance with the OISC Code of Standards.

The University of Birmingham is a member of the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) and operates in accordance with the UKCISA Code of Ethics for Advisers.

Where the level of immigration advice required is beyond our mandate, we will inform you and ask you to contact an appropriately qualified independent legal advisor.

This means that the only staff who are permitted to provide immigration advice and services to applicants, students and visitors at the University of Birmingham, are the staff in the International Student Team (IST).

The IST webpage outlines the range of immigration matters we can advise on.

The IST provides advice in good faith based on the information we have about your situation.

We endeavour to ensure that any advice we provide is accurate at the time it is given. However, this advice may be subject to change.  We cannot accept responsibility for any errors or omissions, for consequences arising from the use of advice provided, nor for decisions made by government agencies.

Data Protection and Confidentiality

The IST deals with personal and sensitive data over a range of issues and is committed to providing a confidential advice service to ensure the security of sensitive data and personal documentation collected, processed and stored in the everyday business of the Service.

Confidentiality is an important part of establishing a relationship of trust between you and your adviser and may be defined as ‘ensuring that information is accessible only to those authorised to have access.’

The IST comply with the OISC Code of Standards, the Data Protection Act 2018 and the University Data Protection by following strict procedures for the collection, processing, storage and destruction of sensitive data and keeping clear written records of all advice given and all work done on your behalf.

No information about you will be given directly or indirectly to any third party who is not a member of the IST team, without your consent to the disclosure of any information.

No information will be given to any external agency without your consent except when the provision of such information is:

(a)    Where you have given your consent to disclose information or data;

(b)   If you or others are in immediate physical danger; and

(c)    If the provision of such information is required by law.

Case files may be made available for inspection by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner, upon request, subject to Data Protection Regulations.

In order to maintain confidentiality we are only able to discuss immigration issues with you.  We cannot, for example, discuss your situation with a parent, legal guardian or friend, unless you have given us your permission to do so in writing.

Written records of all visa advice provided by the IST, whether by email or following an appointment, will be retained.

If you attend an appointment, the advisor will write notes about your enquiry and the follow-up advice given to you. This information will be sent to you as a client care letter by email after your appointment.  The IST will store the notes and letter electronically. When we have sent our letter, we will assume that you agree that the content is an accurate record of the appointment unless you contact the IST team within three working days of receipt to tell us otherwise.

Conflict of Interest

An adviser must not act where there is a real or potential conflict of interest between them and you. In these circumstances, the adviser must explain fully and clearly to you any circumstances in which there might be a conflict and it may be necessary in these cases to refer your case elsewhere.

Discrimination

The IST will not discriminate on the basis of race, gender, age, nationality, faith, sexual orientation, physical ability, or any other relevant consideration. We aim to provide an equal service to all students without prejudice or bias.

Withdrawal of Advisory Services

An adviser must not advise you if any of the matters you have raised requires them to act beyond their authorisation.

If we find ourselves in this position, we will inform you immediately in writing and explain the reasons why we are unable to assist you and refer your matter to appropriately qualified independent legal advisor.

Immigration Compliance

The service outlined above applies to all applicable visitors to the University who are subject to UK immigration rules including visitors who have been assessed visa the Visa Assessment Form (VAF) process.  Further, it includes services provided for Student Route compliance activities.

Feedback and Comments

The IST welcomes the opportunity to improve its services; therefore we welcome feedback from you. We have a number of ways of collecting feedback including by completing feedback forms, email, or in person.

Complaints

You have the right to complaint if you are not happy with the service you received from the IST.  The University recognises that, from time to time, things do go wrong, and recognises the need for students to be able to express their dissatisfaction where this happens.

If you are not satisfied with our service, please contact an IST adviser straight away. We shall try to solve the problem quickly and informally. If your concerns are resolved in this manner, we will make a note on file to register your concerns and how they were resolved.

The normal steps for this would be:

(a)  Inform the Advisor if you are not happy with the Service your received and why;

(b) If you are not satisfied with the response from the Advisor you can email the Head of Service: h.eastham@bham.ac.uk;

(c)  If you are not satisfied with the response from the Head of Service, or if you do not wish to follow (a) and (b) above you can raise a student concern by following the advice in this link.

IST Location, contact and opening hours

The International Student Team (IST) is open for business as usual.  Our working hours are 09:00-17:00 from Monday to Friday.

Due to COVID restrictions the office space is not open to visitors at this time. If you wish to receive visa and immigration advice you can:

Log and enquiry online: www.studenthelp.bham.ac.uk

Request a Triage Appointment online: Your triage appointment will be delivered via Zoom.

Attend a visa workshop: Workshops will be delivered via Zoom and advertised on our webpage.

 

 

 

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