I have recently finished a Ph.D. program in the UK. I had a Tier 4 visa which was supposed to expire in early 2022. However, because i "finished my studies early", my former university sent me an email letting me know that they have contacted and notified UKVI that I have finished and that my visa will be canceled. This happened end of May 2021. Due to COVID, I left the UK in September 2020 and finished my course online.
I have now been offered a job in the UK and I have to apply for a work visa. As far as I am aware, I have not received an official curtailment letter from UKVI. However, according to my university, this has most likely happened since it is August now. I'm unsure how to proceed now. My future employer will need to issue a CoS number for me and that will depend on whether I apply from inside the UK, or from outside the UK.
1) if my student visa is still valid, then it is my understanding that I have to apply from within the UK. However, as I am now outside the UK I am worried this notification will show up for the immigration office at the borders. Further, even if it has not been canceled until today and I do succeed in entering the country, they might cancel it any day before I make the application from within the UK.
2) if my student visa is not valid, then I have to apply from the outside UK which is fine, my only concern is that if I go through with this route, they will think I'm giving false information by saying that my visa has expired.
Would this university notification, and the fact that I have been away from UK for a while be sufficient enough to deal with my new visa application as a new application from outside UK, rather than "switch to" application from inside the UK?