General guidance on sponsoring overseas nationals

As an employer, the University has a responsibility to prevent illegal working in the UK. It is a criminal offence to knowingly employ a person who requires but lacks immigration permission. There is a maximum prison sentence of 2 years and an unlimited fine for employers caught in breach. Employers must carry out document checks to confirm if a person has right to work in the UK. Copies of original, acceptable documents are taken and retained, or an online right to work check is conducted. The Employers guide to right to work checks sets out what is required.

The University has a licence to sponsor foreign workers, granted by the Home Office (UK Visas and Immigration - UKVI), and must always meet the terms of this licence. The University is regularly audited by UKVI and any licence breaches could result in the licence being suspended, downgraded, or withdrawn and no longer being able to sponsor both staff and students from overseas.

Our responsibilities as a licenced sponsor include:

Full guidance on the documents which must be retained are available.

Overseas nationals can apply to come to the UK utilising the points-based immigration system. Most frequently they will fall into the Skilled Worker visa route. This involves the individual meeting specific criteria for the University to make an application for a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) which is issued to the individual, who then makes a subsequent visa application.

There is a list of eligible occupations. The Staff Immigration Team can provide guidance on eligible occupations and job descriptions at recruiting stage. As a recruiting manager it is advisable to also refer to this list at the start of any recruitment process.

In order to successfully obtain a visa, the individual will need to meet a set of non-tradeable and tradeable points. Internal guidance on the system can be found here Points Based Immigration System Overview (PDF, 235kB).

Where a job applicant has confirmed on their application that they would require permission to work in the UK, and the Employee Services Hub Team are informed an offer has been made, they will work closely with the recruiting department to co-ordinate the process of obtaining the required permission to work.

This Visa Quick Reference Guide (PDF, 525kB) can be useful to help determine which visa type is suitable.  

Last updated September 2023