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News and updates from the world of staff immigration in 2023.

Visit our immigration news page for updates from this year.

Electronic Travel Authorisation

The UK Government is introducing Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) for any non-UK/Irish citizens coming to the UK who do not have a visa. ETAs will be phased in, starting with Qatari nationals travelling to the UK on or after 15 November 2023 - the application process is now open via an app which can be downloaded to iPhone and Android smartphones with the correct specification.

Citizens of Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates will be able to apply from 1 February 2024, for entry into the UK from 22 February 2024.

Nationals of other countries who do not currently need a visa to enter to the UK may continue to travel to the UK without ETA. More nationalities will be able to apply later.

An ETA is not part of the right to work system, but anyone who needs an ETA but does not have one will not be allowed to travel to the UK. You can find more information on's Apply for an electronic travel authorisation (ETA) webpages.


Date changes come into effect: 15 November 2023 (phased introduction)
Date of announcement: 25 October 2023

ATAS decision timescales

Until recently, the ATAS website has stated that applications will take at least 20 working days between October and March, and at least 30 working days between April and September. However, this has now been updated as follows:

"How long applications take

Student and researcher ATAS applications take at least 30 working days (6 full weeks) to process.

To ensure fairness and consistency we process applications in order of receipt. There is no ‘fast track’ service. You should submit your ATAS application as early as possible."


Date changes come into effect: 10 October 2023
Date of announcement: 10 October 2023

BRP delivery service change (applications submitted in the UK)

Biometric residence permits (BRPs) will now be delivered to home addresses in the UK by Royal Mail Group. The service will continue in a similar way to the previous provider; however the key differences are as follows:

  • A signature is no longer required to receive the BRP, it will be posted through the letterbox or mailbox. However, if this is not possible, it will not be left in a designated 'safe place' or delivered to a neighbour; the individual will need to arrange redelivery or collection from Royal Mail’s local delivery office, details of which will be provided on the ‘Something for you’ card.
  • Once the BRP has been produced and collected by Royal Mail for delivery, the individual will no longer be able to change the delivery address, so should ensure that their address details are kept up to date with UKVI.

Please see an image of the branded BRP delivery envelope, and a frequently asked questions document which provides further information about the service.


Date changes come into effect: 18 September 2023
Date of announcement: 27 September 2023

Immigration/visa fee increases

The UK government has announced that from 4 October 2023, certain visa or immigration fees will increase, as summarised below. Where possible, international staff applying for a visa should do so before 4 October to avoid these planned increases.

In addition, there is a planned increase to the NHS surcharge from £624 per year to £1,035 per year (£776 per year for dependants under 18). The government has announced that this will be scheduled for late 2023/early 2024. We will let institutions know when the date is known.

Cost type Current fee Fee from 4 Oct
Skilled Worker Visa Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) £199 £239
Temporary Worker GAE Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) £21 £25
Skilled Worker/dependant visa – up to 3 years validity, applying outside the UK £625 £719
Skilled Worker/dependant visa – up to 3 years validity, applying inside the UK £1,235 £1,420
Skilled Worker/dependant visa – more than 3 year & up to 5 year validity, applying outside the UK £719 £827
Skilled Worker/dependant visa – more than 3 year & up to 5 year validity, applying inside the UK £1,423 £1,500
Global Talent visa - initial Endorsement: £456
Visa: £167
Endorsement: £524
Visa: £192
Global Talent visa - extension £623 £716
Global Talent dependant visa £623 £716
Temporary Worker GAE/dependant visa £259 £298
Indefinite Leave to Remain (settlement) £2,404 £2,885
British citizenship (naturalisation) £1,250 £1,500
Super Priority ‘fast-track’ visa service (24 hour decision) applying inside the UK £800 £1000
Super Priority ‘fast-track’ visa service (24 hour decision) applying outside the UK £956 £1000
Priority ‘fast-track’ visa service (5 day decision) applying outside the UK £250 £500


This list is not exhaustive - please see the government’s website for changes to other immigration fees.

The University operates a visa loan scheme to assist with the costs of most of the visa application types being increased. 


Date changes come into effect: 4 October 2023
Date of announcement: 21 September 2023

Change to rules for students switching into work visas

Without giving advance notice of its implementation, the Home Office has altered its rules on the timings for Tier 4/Student visa holders to switch into work visa routes, such as Skilled Worker and Global Talent.

Prior to this rule change, Tier 4/Student visa holders could switch into these visa routes at any time whilst pursing their studies. With immediate effect, Student visa holders can now only apply to switch into work visa routes in the following circumstances:

  • Undergraduate and Masters students: cannot start work on a work visa until they have completed their course and can provide evidence of this. Completion is the earlier of (a) the course end date on their Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) or (b) confirmation of early completion from Student Registry or, for external students, the equivalent in their awarding institution. They do not need to have been awarded their degree.
  • PhD students: can start work on a work visa 24 months after the course start date on their current CAS.

The University, along with all other employers in the UK, was given no advance notice of this change. If you have concerns about how this may impact any ongoing recruitment you may have, please send us an email.


Date changes come into effect: 17 July 2023
Date of announcement: 23 July 2023

New additions to the 'visa national' list

The following countries are added to the list of nationalities who must obtain a UK visa before travelling to the UK:

  • Dominica
  • Honduras
  • Namibia
  • Timor-Leste (East Timor)

Please see the UK government's website for the full list.

There is a transition period until 16 August 2023, where nationals of these countries who hold a confirmed booking made on or before 15:00 BST on 19 July 2023 can still arrive without having been granted a visa in advance.


Date changes come into effect: 19 July 2023
Date of announcement: 19 July 2023

Changes to Skilled Worker salary thresholds

This will affect some of our most-used SOC codes as follows:

SOC code % change in 'going rate' minimum
2112 Biological scientists and biochemists + 0.98% (shortage occupation)
2114 Social and humanities scientists - 1.16%
2119 Natural and social science professionals  + 4.85%
2135 IT business analysts, architects and systems designers + 0.98% (shortage occupation)
2136 Programmers and software development professionals + 0.98% (shortage occupation)
2311 Higher education teaching professionals + 1.23%
2426 Business and related research professionals  + 4.71%
2429 Business, research and administrative professionals + 11.28%
2452 Archivists and curators + 3.81%
3111 Laboratory technicians + 0.98% (shortage occupation)
3131 IT operations technicians + 0.82%
3132 IT user support technicians  -2.46%

Please see our Skilled Worker salary webpages for full details of the revised minimum salary levels.


Date changes come into effect: any Skilled Worker Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) issued on or after 12 April 2023
Date of announcement: 9 March 2023