This section provides departments/institutions with the most common questions received by the Compliance Team. We recommend that you read through these first and then if you have any further queries, or need clarification, contact the Compliance Team.
Q. What are the consequences of getting immigration administration wrong?
If the guidance contained in these webpages is not followed then we risk the following:
Delay to the recruitment process
If the Resident Labour Market Test for sponsoring a Tier 2 individual is not carried out correctly then we may need to re-advertise. This will delay recruitment by at least a month.
Breaking the law and being fined
Employing someone who does not have right to work in the UK is unlawful and it could result in the University being liable for a civil penalty of up to £20,000. Knowingly or having reasonable cause to believe that an indivdual has no right to work in the UK and subsequently employing them is a criminal offence. In such circumstances, the University could be prosecuted and fined and the individuals involved in employing the individual could be prosecuted, fined and imprisoned.
Loss of sponsor licence
If we breach the terms of our sponsor licence (which includes employing anyone without right to work in the UK) then our licence might be downgraded (in which case we will no longer be able to sponsor new Tier 2 or 5 individuals) or revoked (in which case UKVI will curtail the leave of all of our existing Tier 2 and 5 sponsored individuals).
Q. An employee's visa has expired. What do I do?
As part of our internal processes, before any employee’s time-limited visa is due to expire, the Compliance Team will contact the relevant department/institution to determine if the individual will be extending their visa, moving to another visa category or leaving employment.Therefore, there should never be a situation where an employee’s visa has expired and no action has been taken.
However, in the circumstances where an individual has applied to extend their visa, or move to another visa category, and they have been refused a new visa, the individual then has 28 days to either make another visa application or leave the UK.After this time, if they do not make another application and do not leave the UK, they will be classed as an overstayer which is a criminal offence.
If the individual does make another visa application within 28 days this will be classed as an ‘out-of-time’ application. In these circumstances they will not be allowed to continue working for us while the new application is being considered, although they will be allowed to remain in the UK. The same applies if an individual has not initially applied to extend their visa before it expires but then decides to make an application within 28 days of their visa expiring.
Q. What is the process for taking a right to work check on the first day of employment?
It is a legal requirement that the University must check the right to work of all employees before they start work. If the individual’s documents cannot be checked until the first day, you must have written evidence that the individual arrived at the department to have their documents checked before they commenced any work. The HR23 Welcome Letter contains wording which, along with including the time on the verified copy of right to work, can be used to provide this evidence. For example:
“On your first day, which we have agreed will be 31 January, you should arrive at 09:00. The departmental administrator will take a copy of your right to work documentation prior to you starting work at 09:15.”
Please see the ‘University process for checking right to work’ in the Right to Work section of the Recruitment Guidance for full details.
Q. Do we need a right to work check if the employee will work abroad and never enter the UK?
The law on illegal working only applies to an adult who is ‘subject to immigration control.’ Therefore, if an individual intends on working for us but will never enter the UK, he or she is not subject to UK immigration control and you are therefore not required to conduct a right to work check.
If, however, the individual enters the UK at any point to undertake some of their duties at the University, you will need to ensure that the individual has the correct visa to undertake the work in question.
It may be possible to treat the individual as a ‘visitor. See the University’s visitor right to work policy for more information.
Q. A non-EEA student wishes to conduct research at my department. Can they obtain an Academic Visitor visa?
No. Under the Immigration Rules, in order to qualify for entry as a visiting academic, the individual must be "currently working in that field at an academic institution or institution of higher education overseas." This would preclude students from applying through this route.
(Paragraph V 4.22 of Appendix V of the Immigration Rules)
If the individual is a sponsored researcher, they could enter the UK under Tier 5 (GAE) . Please conact the Compliance Team for further guidance on this route.
If the individual is not suitable for Tier 5, please contact the International Student Team for further advice on the student visa routes.
Q. How do I register with Universal Jobmatch?
First, check that you are required to advertise the vacancy in Universal Jobmatch. You do not have to advertise in Universal Jobmatch if one of the following applies:
- The SOC code for the job is one of the PhD level SOC codes
- The salary exceeds £71,600
- The job is in a shortage occupation
The registration process requires
- Step 1: To register, go to http://www.gateway.gov.uk and click on Register as an Organisation. Enter your details and you will receive a 12 digit user ID. Please keep a permanent note of any user ID's generated as they appear on screen. Click on ‘Your Services’ and add Universal Jobmatch with your ‘Known Facts’ which are your Universal Jobmatch Employer Reference number and your departmental postcode.
- Step 2: You now need to complete your registration. Go to http://www.gov.uk/advertise-job . Click ‘Start Now’ followed by ‘Log In’. Enter your 12 digit Government Gateway user ID and password. You will be asked to confirm your account details. Do not make any amendments to the address fields. Ensure that all other mandatory fields are completed, if you accept the Universal Jobmatch Terms and Conditions, tick the box and click Submit.
- If a warning box appears, click ‘Confirm’. You will be asked to set three security questions. Once these have been set, click ‘Save’ and you will be taken to the welcome screen.
If you lose your if number or password, you will be unable to retrieve it. In order to regain access to the service, you will need to register again. However, you will still have access to the existing job and applicant information held on your account.
Q. Is it possible to obtain a refund for my via fee and/or NHS surcharge?
There is no central University policy of reimbursing visa fees. It is at each department/Institutions’ discretion as to whether they reimburse visa fees and/or the NHS Surcharge. We would advise you to contact your recruiting department to discuss this.
For employees entering the UK from overseas in order to work, HMRC have confirmed that it is possible to reimburse both the visa fee and the NHS Surcharge without a tax implication. This was confirmed in a newsflash from the British Universities Finance Directo's Group (BUFDG) in November 2015.
For employees already in the UK, please note that reimbursements for visa extensions/re-applications and the NHS Surcharge are classed as a taxable benefit and will incur tax and national insurance deductions.
HMRC haven’t been tested as to whether someone could go out of the country, apply for an extension and return and claim it as an allowable business expense. It would be at your own risk to pursue this without declaring the expense to HMRC.