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If an employee has a time limit on their right to live and work in the UK, a follow up check must be completed at the point where the individual's permission to live and work in the UK expires.

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) can often take several months to process visa renewal applications. Provided the employee has submitted the application before their current visa expired (known as an 'in-time application'), they can remain in the UK until UKVI has determined their application on the basis of their previous permission, even after it has expired. This is in line with Section 3C of the Immigration Act 1971.

The Compliance Team receives a regular report which alerts them to any employees whose right to work in the UK is due to expire in the next three months. The Compliance Team will in turn remind departments/institutions of individual members of staff affected. The individual's line manager must meet with the individual as soon as possible to discuss their intentions (i.e. will they be extending their visa, applying for a different type of visa or will they be leaving the University).

University procedure

If the individual will be extending their visa or applying for a different type of visa, the Compliance Team follow a three step process. This is designed to ensure full compliance with legislative requirements whilst providing a seamless transition which will allow the employee to continue working for the University without any interruptions or delays. The process is summarised as follows:


Step One - Evidence of visa renewal

The first stage requires the employee to provide evidence of having made a new visa application. There are different ways an applicant can make a visa or immigration application, details of which are below, but in either case the evidence that the HR Compliance Team will require is the same:

Standard online applications

In all cases, the Compliance Team will require a copy of the online application form and the payment receipt/confirmation.

The Compliance Team can also accept UKVI visa acknowledgment letters on a case-by-case basis.

Value Added Services (e.g. 'Super Priority Service')

When making a visa or immigration application, it is possible to apply through ‘valued added services’ which will shorten the decision length of the application.

For full details of the services on offer, please see the UKVI guidance here:

In all cases, the Compliance Team will require a copy of the online application form and the payment receipt/confirmation.

  • Important note: once an applicant has submitted their new visa application, they cannot leave the UK for any reason until the application is granted or the application will be automatically withdrawn by the Home Office.

Step Two - 'ECS' check

Following receipt by the Compliance Team of the appropriate evidence (as above), the Compliance Team are then required to undertake a check with the Home Office Employer Checking Service (ECS) which provides the University with a limited 'statutory excuse' to employee the individual whilst the visa application is pending.

The ECS check is completed by the HR Compliance Team and should not be undertaken by departments/institutions. Under GDPR, in order to request an ECS check, the Compliance Team must request written authorisation from the individual, which can be downloaded here:

Upon receipt of both this letter and the visa application evidence an ECS check will be completed.

  • In the event that the ECS check is positive, our statutory excuse to employee the individual will last for a further six months. During this period, the Compliance Team must obtain a verified copy of the Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) which confirms the individual's visa application was successful and that they have the ongoing right to work in the UK. See step three below.
  • In the event that the ECS check is negative, which may be the result of the individual having had their visa application refused, our 'statutory excuse' to employee the indivudal will terminate. In those circumstances the Compliance Team will contact the department and the relevant HR Schools Team to discuss what action needs to be taken. This could lead to dismissal of the individual on the grounds that they have no right to work in the UK. A formal meeting must be held with the individual to establish their right to work status before any action is taken. The Immigration and Compliance Mananger must be present at this meeting. 
Step Three - Receiving the decision

Once the visa application has been approved by UKVI, the department must complete a further right to work check.

From 6 April 2022, employers cannot accept the Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) as proof of right to work. The only means to now prove right to work is to use the individual's 'digital status', which must be verified online using the process outlined in the guidance: Online right to work checking guidance.

Confirmation that the online status check has been completed must then be sent to the HR Compliance Team. 



Managing invalid visa applications

The Compliance Team must be informed of an invalid application so that right to work can be monitored

On occasion, members of staff find themselves in situations where they submit a visa application in-time, only to have it returned due to a problem outside of their control, such as payment being incorrectly processed.

Under rules introduced in November 2014, visa applicants served with a notice of invalidity may be given the opportunity to rectify the error or omission to the application. In such cases, the Home Office decision-maker will write to the individual concerned and allow 10 working days to correct the application. This means that, provided the amended application and/ or any requested information is returned within 10 days, it will be treated as an 'in-time', valid application. The individual will therefore be allowed to continue working whilst the application is being considered.

Managing visas refusals and appeals

In the event that a current member of staff has their visa refused, you must inform the Compliance Team immediately.

The individual's ability to continue working for the University following a visa expiry will depend if their current right to work is still valid or has expired, or if they have the right of appeal against the refusal.

Should this situation arise with any member of staff, the Compliance Team must be notified and will initiate the 'Managing visa expiries, refusals and appeals process.' This is a detailed procedure which contains template letters designed for use depending on the staff member's right to work status.