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All non-UK/Irish nationals who are entering the UK for the first time for the purpose of working must 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.

If you do not hold the right to work in the UK, but have been offered a job at the University, in most cases we can help you to obtain a visa. This is usually through the Global Talent or Skilled Worker visa routes, although there are other options as detailed below.


Global Talent Visa

The Global Talent visa 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 (PDF download from webpage).


Skilled Worker Visa

If you have accepted a job offer and you are not eligible for Global Talent, you may be eligible for a Skilled Worker visa. In order to gain this visa, you must score a minimum number of points against required criteria and you will need to be 'sponsored' by the University


Student Visa

If you already hold a Tier 4/Student visa, you are permitted to undertake limited work 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 International Student webpage.

Note: Students on visas who have completed their course can apply to move into the Skilled Worker route if they have been made a job offer.


Government Authorised Exchange (temporary work) (GAE)

GAE “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 GAE to host temporary 'sponsored researchers'. In order to gain this visa, you must score a minimum number of points against required criteriaand you will need to be 'sponsored' by the University.

GAE can also be used by individuals undertaking:

  • A period of work-based training/work experience/internship/placement
  • Skill development/knowledge transfer
  • A formal research project or collaboration
  • External examinations
  • A visit funded by Erasmus+ (where their project was funded after 2020)
  • A series of lectures, which don’t amount to a formal teaching post and don’t make a profit for the organiser

For full guidance on the GAE route, please see our Visas and Immigration webpages.


Other visa routes

There are a variety of other routes through which non-EU/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.