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Visas/Right to Work in the UK

Visas/Right to Work in the UK

Whether a person is allowed to work in the UK, the type of work they are able to do and for how long will depend on their immigration status. There are work restrictions on nationals from certain countries and as an employer, we need to be aware of any conditions that may affect our lawful employment of a worker.

The following are not subject to UK immigration control. We may therefore employ these individuals without restriction:

  • British citizens;
  • Commonwealth citizens with the right of abode in the UK;
  • Nationals from the Common Travel Area;
  • Nationals from European Economic Area (EEA) countries and Switzerland (except for Croatian nationals (until 30 June 2017);
  • Non EEA family members of adult nationals from EEA countries and Switzerland, provided the EEA national is lawfully residing in the UK; and
  • Any individual who is granted indefinite leave to enter or remain in the UK, or who has no time limit on their stay

Individuals who do not have the permanent right to work in the UK are subject to immigration control and must obtain an appropriate visa before they are permitted to take up employment.

For visas under the Points-Based Immigration System, the most likely to be seen by the University are:

Visa

Detail

Tier 1 (Exceptional talent)

You can apply for a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa if you’ve been endorsed as an internationally recognised leader or emerging leader in your field in science, humanities, engineering, medicine, digital technology or the arts and you are from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland. There is a 2-stage application process to obtain this visa. You first need to apply to the Home Office for endorsement as a leader or an emerging leader in your particular field. Then, once you have been endorsed, you can apply for the visa.

Tier 2 (General)

You can apply for a Tier 2 (General) visa if you’ve been offered a skilled job in the UK and you are from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland. You need to be sponsored (i.e. have a certificate of sponsorship from a licensed sponsor) before you can apply to come to the UK to work.  In order to enter the UK as a Tier 2 sponsored worker, there are various criteria you and the University, as your sponsor, must meet.

If you hold a Tier 2 visa with another organisation and wish to undertake additional employment with the University, you may be allowed to do so, in limited circumstances.  This is known as supplementary employment and must:

  • be in the same profession and at the same professional level as the work for which the Certificate of Sponsorship was assigned
  • be for no more than 20 hours a week
  • be outside of the normal working hours for which the Certificate of Sponsorship was assigned
You should advise us that the employment with the University is supplementary to the work you are being sponsored to do, so that we can make the necessary checks with your sponsor organisation to ensure that the criteria above is being met.

Tier 4 (Student)

Not all international students (those from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland) are entitled to work while they are in the UK, but some are allowed to take limited employment providing the conditions of their permission to study allow this. Where you do have a limited right to work, the working hours that you may undertake will depend on when you applied for permission to come to or stay in the UK, the type of course you are studying and the type of educational provider with whom you are studying. Work permitted during your studies is stated on the visa which may be an endorsement in your passport or a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP). It is important that the visa conditions are understood so you are not offered/ accept work outside of the restrictions.

Tier 4 (Doctorate Extension Scheme)

If you are currently following a course leading to the award of a PhD with a Tier 4 sponsor that is a UK HEI, you can apply for the Doctorate Extension Scheme to stay in the UK for 12 months after your course has ended. Once you have successfully completed your PhD there will be fewer restrictions on the work you can do and you can use the 12 months to gain further experience in your chosen field, seek skilled work, or develop plans to set up as an entrepreneur.

Tier 5 – (Government Authorised Exchange)

This category is for people coming to the UK through approved schemes that aim to share knowledge, experience and best practice. This category must not be used to fill job vacancies or to bring unskilled labour to the UK. You need to be sponsored (i.e. have a certificate of sponsorship from a licensed sponsor) before you can apply to come to the UK. In order to enter the UK as a Tier 5 sponsored worker, there are various criteria both you and the University, as your sponsor, must meet.

All appointments are subject to proof of eligibility to work in the UK and we must carry out specific checks on original documents that are provided as this evidence. All employees are required to produce evidence of their entitlement to work in the UK before they commence employment and must not start work until satisfactory evidence is provided. We are also required to conduct a follow-up check on people who have time-limited permission to work in the UK.

Checking an individual’s documents to determine if they have the right to carry out the type of work we are offering comprises of three key steps:

1. Obtain the individual’s original versions of one or more acceptable documents;

2. Check the document’s validity in the presence of the holder; and

3. Make and retain a clear copy, and record the date the check was made.

The documents we may accept from a person to demonstrate their right to work are set out in two lists as defined by the Home Office – List A and List B.

  • List A contains the range of documents which we may accept for a person who has a permanent right to work in the UK. Further document checks are not required for these individuals.
  • List B contains a range of documents which may be accepted for a person who has a temporary/ time limited right to work in the UK.  We are required to conduct follow-up checks on people who have time-limited permission to work in the UK.

More detailed information about the 3-step check process and the acceptable documents, together with examples of what they look like can be found in ‘An employer’s guide to acceptable right to work documents’ here