A couple of weeks ago, I submitted the revised thesis with a response to the examiners' corrections (my outcome was passed with major corrections). When I sent the revised thesis + response to each correction (2 weeks ago), I told them my situation and how important was for me to get a response from them before my visa expires. This will allow me to apply for a working visa since a company is willing to provide me with a sponsorship. This is a unique opportunity for me to develop professionally in a foreign country.
The internal replied saying that he correctly received the documents and that he will wait for the external to review them before making a decision. The external hasn't replied yet. The department basically told me to just wait and pray. The company, on the other hand, is pressuring me to give them a definitive date so they can start the visa process.
As each day passes, I am getting more and more desperate about the situation. I am thinking about sending a follow up email to the external asking how things are going. But I don't want to pressure him and make things worse.
What do you guys recommend me to do?
I can appreciate and totally understand your frustration. The key thing here is that the weight of the external examiner is greater than that of the internal, i.e. the external giving the go-ahead on the pass and issuing the doctorate is critical as that's what the university has to rely on. I would be very careful not to annoy the external and try to be patient (though I appreciate that is tough given your urgency). One may not know their workload, especially so close to the start of the academic year. By all means, you could send another gentle reminder, but don't be too hasty. You've come this far. Hopefully, all will be fine. All the best.
I can completely understand your frustration and had a good friend go through something similar with visas (emeritus professor LOL). I agree with Jamie_Wizard. Don't annoy your examiners and it would be better if your supervisor/admin team pressure the examiner. Also, for your visa you probably need more than just an email but a full certificate which can sometimes take a while. PhDs at my university require final approval from an exam board (rubber stamp really) which only meets every 2-3 months that can also delay things. If you ask your admin department they might tell you how long after the approval it will take to get the certificate.
I really I wish I could give you better advice and I fully sympathise with you but there isn't much you can do at the 2 week point.
Yes, excellent point Rewt --- the doctoral examination needs ratifying once you have been passed by the examiners, and they don't meet very frequently. As Rewt also pointed out, it's only the 2-week point. Best to try and relax during this time as it is not in your control --- why not take a mini-break within the country perhaps?
From a different angle, I would suggest that you also get in touch with your international student / immigration advice office. I am assuming that you are based in the UK based on the thesis grading system.
I am not super up-to-date about the latest immigration rules, you may be eligible for one of: extending your current T4 visa (especially due to delay caused by COVID ), or applying for the new Graduate route visa.
Your new employer only needs to know an expected graduation day, right? Maybe you can talk to your school about the administrative deadlines and use that at the date. My school does have an absolute administrative deadline that the examiners need to respond within (it is fairly lenient and I have no idea whether it is enforced, but it is regulation in writing).
I would also pay attention to the COVID-related concessions of the Home Office. Depending on the situation of your home country, you may also be able to argue that you have problem returning to your home country and can ask home office for legally remaining in the UK after your visa expires.
It is a very impressive achievement finding a sponsored job this year. Please, please consult an immigration export and also do extensive research on home office regulations. I wish you the best of luck.
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