Overseas nationals - FAQ's

Please be aware that this information is for guidance purposes only and does not intend to be a full representation of the immigration rules. For full details please visit the UK Border Agency’s (UKBA) website. Further general information on coming to the UK can also be found on the University's International Office website.

Who is entitled to work in the UK?

The following groups are considered to be 'settled workers', are not subject to immigration control and therefore have no restrictions on working in the UK:

Nationals from the two newest EU members, Bulgaria and Romania, are covered by the Accession Worker Card Scheme.

Asylum seekers whose applications are successful and are granted Indefinite Leave To Remain (ILTR) are entitled to work in the UK without any restrictions. Asylum seekers are not normally allowed to work in the UK whilst their asylum application is being considered, except in very limited circumstances.

Overseas students studying at UK institutions are entitled to work in the UK, with certain restrictions.

* Note - British Overseas citizens, British Overseas Territories citizens, British Nationals (Overseas), British Protected Persons and British Subjects are all forms of British nationality which require permission to live and work in the UK. There may be an entitlement to register as British citizens in certain circumstances.

If offered employment by the University, individual's in all of the above groups will be required to produce satisfactory documentary proof of entitlement to work in the UK in the job they have been appointed to.

All other migrant workers are covered by the Points Based System (PBS).

What is an EEA National?

 

An EEA National is a citizen of one of the following countries:

Austria
Belgium
Bulgaria ø 
Cyprus
Czech Republic
Denmark
Estonia
Finland
France 
Germany  
Greece     
Hungary  
Iceland *  
Irish Republic 
Italy    
Latvia
Liechtenstein *
Lithuania  
Luxembourg  
Malta
Netherlands 
Norway *
Poland    
Portugal 
Romania ø  
Slovakia  
Slovenia    
Spain
Sweden  
Switzerland Ŧ
United Kingdom   

 

 

 
The unmarked countries in this list belong to the European Union (EU).
* These countries do not belong to the EU but citizens of these countries have the same rights to enter, live in and work in the United Kingdom as EU citizens.
Ŧ Switzerland does not belong to the EU or EEA but Swiss citizens have the same rights to enter, live in and work in the United Kingdom as EU and EEA members.
ø The Accession Worker Scheme (AWS) applies to these countries.

Do I need a visa if I am coming for an interview?

If you are an overseas national from outside the European Economic Area (EEA), you may need to obtain a business visitor visa before travelling to the UK for your interview. Further information on visitor visas can be found on the UK Government's visa services website.  

What is the Points Based System (PBS) for immigration to the UK?

The majority of 'migrant workers' (ie overseas nationals requiring permission to work in the UK) are covered by the Points Based System (PBS), managed by the UK Border Agency (UKBA), which is made up of 5 Tiers:

Individuals have to accumulate points for factors such as qualifications, prospective earnings and English language competence in order to obtain entry clearance and leave to remain in the UK. With the exception of Tier 1, the individual is also required to have a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) from a sponsor employer or educational provider licensed by the UKBA. 

How does the University use the PBS Tiers?

Tier 1 – If an appointee to a job holds a Tier 1 visa, the University can employ this person for the duration of their visa without obtaining further permission to employ them.  An advantage of permission to work under this tier is that it relates to the individual rather than a specific job and is therefore transferable across different employment. 

Tier 2 – If the appointee is a non-EEA national subject to immigration control, the University will need to obtain permission to employ the applicant by obtaining a Certificate of Sponsorship (CofS).  The Certificate of Sponsorship has replaced the previous work permit scheme and is required as part of the process of obtaining a visa to enter/ and or stay in the UK.

Tier 3 – This tier is currently suspended.

Tier 4 – Students who are non-EEA nationals will need to hold a Tier 4 visa to study at the University (and are then also entitled to work in the UK with some restrictions).

Tier 5 – This Tier is used to obtain permission for Sponsored Researchers to come to the University to carry out research and use the University’s facilities. 

What is a Tier 2 Sponsored Skilled Worker?

This is the route for skilled non-EEA nationals to use to work in the UK if they have a job offer. 

To qualify for a visa in this category, you must have both a Sponsor (employer) and a valid Certificate of Sponsorship which is provided by the sponsoring employer. If you are coming to work at the University you will need to apply in the Tier 2 (General) category.

As the permission to work is only provided for the specific job covered by the Certificate of Sponsorship, when your employment in that job ends so does your permission to work in the UK.

What is a Certificate of Sponsorship?

The Certificate of Sponsorship is not a document, but a unique reference number which you will need to use when you apply for your visa.  The Certificate of Sponsorship replaces the previous system of work permits and is issued by the sponsoring employer. The University is licensed to issue Certificates of Sponsorship. 

Why do I need a visa as well as a Certificate of Sponsorship?

The Certificate of Sponsorship gives the University permission to employ you. The visa is also required because this gives you permission to enter and stay ('leave to remain') in the UK and without it you would be unable to take up your employment.

If you change jobs and work for another employer, that employer will need to issue you with a new, separate Certificate of Sponsorship and you will have to apply for a new visa attached to the fresh Certificate of Sponsorship.

Who can apply to come to the UK as a Tier 2 Sponsored Skilled Worker (General)?

Non-EEA Nationals who are:

What are the requirements of the Tier 2 Sponsored Skilled Worker (General) visa?

In order to obtain a visa points are awarded for English language competence, maintenance (funds) and a job offer at a minimum skill (graduate) and salary level through a CoS obtained by the employer. The University would only normally be able to obtain a CoS for Research and Teaching roles, or those that require specified specialist skills and qualifications.

You should use the self-assessment points calculator to check you are eligible for a Tier 2 Skilled Worker (General) visa. If you do not score enough points, your application will be refused.  We will therefore not issue a Certificate of Sponsorship unless you have provided us with evidence that you have met the points requirements. 

You are also strongly advised to check at this stage that you can provide all the related documentation you are required to send with your visa application.

In the meantime detailed guidance and advice is available from the UK Border Agency for out of country applications and in country applications.

What are the criteria for the issue of a Certificate of Sponsorship?

In order to obtain a CoS a number of basic requirements relating to the occupational type, skill and salary level of the job must be met. In most cases, evidence of how the job was advertised will also need to be provided in order to meet a Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT). The University would only normally be able to obtain a CoS for Research and Teaching roles, or those that require specified specialist skills and qualifications

What does the University need from me for the Certificate of Sponsorship?

Does it matter if I am in or out of the UK when the Certificate of Sponsorship is issued?

No. As the Certificate of Sponsorship is not a document but a unique reference number, it can be used to apply for a visa either in or out of the UK.  However, the application process and application form is different depending on whether you are applying from inside or outside of the UK.  Further information is available from the UK Border Agency for out of country applications and in country applications.

Can I bring my dependants (ie family members) with me to the UK if I have a Certificate of Sponsorship?

You will need to make an application for a visa for each dependant when you apply for your own visa.  Full details are available from the UK Border Agency website.

What is the duration of the Certificate of Sponsorship?

The Certificate of Sponsorship will give you permission to work for the duration of your contract up to a maximum of 3 years in the first instance. An extension to a Certificate of Sponsorship can be issued for a further 2 years. After 5 years continuous service on a Certificate of Sponsorship, you can apply for permanent residency in the UK (also known as settlement).  

How long will it take for a Certificate of Sponsorship to be issued?

Once we have received all the required documentation from you and your recruiting department, and you have confirmed that you have used the self-assessment points calculator to check you have enough points to qualify for a visa, a Certificate of Sponsorship can normally be issued on the same day.

Do I have to pay for my Certificate of Sponsorship?

No.  The cost of the Certificate of Sponsorship is met by the University.

When can I apply for a Tier 2 visa (for limited leave to remain in the UK/entry clearance)?

You can apply as soon as you have been issued with a Certificate of Sponsorship. You will need the unique reference number (URN) for your visa application.  Remember to use the self-assessment points calculator to check you have enough points to qualify before the Certificate of Sponsorship is issued. You are also strongly advised to check at this stage that you can provide all the related documentation you are required to send with your visa application.

How long will it take for me to be issued with my Tier 2 visa?

The current waiting times if you are outside the UK are available on the UK Border Agency website.

Is there a fast track process, or can I can make an application in person?

If you are in the UK there is a premium service to make an application is person. 

How much is a Tier 2 visa and do I have to pay for it?

The fee for a Tier 2 visa varies depending on your circumstances and details of current fees can found on the UK Border Agency web site.

You will have to pay for your visa, however, once you start your employment at the University you can then claim 50% of the cost back from the University.  

How much is a Tier 1 visa and do I have to pay for it?

The fee for a Tier 1 visa varies depending on your circumstances and details of current fees can found on the UK Border Agency web site.

You will have to pay for your Tier 1 visa as it allows you to work for any employer in the UK. However, the University may be able to reimburse you or contribute to the cost.

What if I am named on the grant and the role was not advertised?

In order to obtain a Tier 2 (General) Certificate of Sponsorship, the University would be required to provide confirmation of the naming on the grant rather than proof that the vacancy has been advertised.

I have a student visa, do I also need a Certificate of Sponsorship as a Tier 2 Skilled Worker to work as well?

No, your student visa will allow you to work in the UK with certain conditions.

 You may also work full time after the end of your studies for up to four months as long as your student visa has not expired.  However, this visa is not intended for use for longer-term employment, for which you would need to apply for another visa under either Tier 1 or Tier 2 (for which a Certificate of Sponsorship would therefore be required).

I have a student visa, can I switch to a working visa at the end of my studies?

Potentially yes, if you are successful in applying for a vacancy at the University and you have enough points to qualify for a visa. Further details are available from the University’s International Office website.

Why do you need to check my visa every year?

The UK Border Agency has granted the University a licence to issue Certificates of Sponsorship. To comply with the licence, the University has a number of duties, including carrying out an annual check of the immigration documents and contact details of all staff who have limited leave to remain in the UK (visa) of any type.

Can I claim public funds ie benefits while in the UK on a Tier 2 visa?

No, you will not be eligible for public funds during your time in the UK as a Tier 2 migrant. Public finds are defined as income-related benefits paid by the state. They include income support, income-based job seekers allowance, housing and homelessness assistance, housing and council tax benefit, working families' tax credit, a social fund payment, child benefit and any disability allowance. Benefits paid as a result of your employee contributions whilst working, such as the state pension, are not considered to be public funds. Social housing is not considered to be a public fund either. Claiming public funds when you are not eligible is considered to be benefit fraud and it is a criminal offence.