For all non-European nationals who wish to work in the UK, you must first obtain a visa which will grant you the right to enter and work in the UK.
If you are already in the UK on another type of visa, you may be eligible to ‘switch’ to a visa which will permit you to work for the University.
If you are outside the UK, you must obtain a visa in advance.
For individuals who do not hold the right to work but who have been offered a job at the University, in most cases we can help you obtain a visa. This is usually through the Tier 2 (General) visa route, although there are other options as detailed below.
Tier 1 (Exceptional talent)
The Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) scheme is for exceptionally talented individuals in the fields of science, humanities, engineering and the arts, who wish to work in the UK. These individuals are those who are already internationally recognised at the highest level as world leaders in their particular field, or who have already demonstrated exceptional promise in the fields of science, humanities and engineering and are likely to become world leaders in their particular area.
We have produced a comprehensive guidance document for prospective applicants, which you can access below:
Tier 2 (General)
If we have made you a job offer and you do not have the right to work in the UK then the most common route for you to get the right to work in the UK is under a Tier 2 (General) visa. In order to gain this visa, you must score a minimum number of points against required criteria:
Tier 2 (General) visa - Are you eligible? (points based calculator)
For full guidance on Tier 2 (General) visas, including details of the application process, please see the University’s HR Immigration webpages.
If you already hold a Tier 4 student visa, you are permitted to undertake limited employment on top of your studies. However, legal restrictions apply on your ability to work as directed by UKVI and even greater work restrictions may apply depending upon which Higher Education Institution you attend.
For full details of the restrictions that will apply to you if you wish to work, please see the guidance on the University’s HR Immigration webpages.
Note: Students on Tier 4 visas who have completed their course can apply to move into Tier 2 (General) if they have been made a job offer.
Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme
The Doctorate Extension Scheme allows completing PhD students to stay and work in the UK for up to one year after the completion of their studies. During this time, or before their visa expires, they can switch into the Tier 2 (General) category. The University's International Student Team can provide more information about this route.
Tier 5 (GAE)
Tier 5 Government Authorised Exchange (GAE) category “is for those individuals coming to the United Kingdom through approved schemes that aim to share knowledge, experience and best practice through work placements, whilst experiencing the wider social and cultural setting of the United Kingdom.” In practice, as a Higher Education Institution, the University of Cambridge is permitted to use Tier 5 (GAE) to host temporary 'sponosored researchers'. In order to gain this visa, you must score a minimum number of points against required criteria:
Tier 5 (GAE) can also be used by individuals looking for an internship or period of temporary work experience in the UK. However, for these types of roles, the University of Cambridge will not be the sponsor. See the link for further details.
For full guidance on Tier 5 (GAE) visas, including details of the application process, please see the University’s HR Immigration webpages.
Other visa routes
There are a variety of other routes through which non-EEA nationals can gain the right to work in the UK. However, gaining a visa through one of these other routes is contingent upon you having strong links with the UK, either through family, ancestry or due to the length of time you have already lived in the UK.
For further guidance on these other routes, please contact the Compliance Team for assistance.