What if someone doesn't have the right to work in the UK?

If someone skilled doesn't have the right to work in the UK we may still be able to employ them under UK Visas and Immigration Points Based System.

The Points Based System (PBS) has 5 Tiers:

In some cases, we may also be able to invite non EEA nationals to come to the University as Academic Visitors.

Tier 1 visas - highly skilled workers

The sections of this Tier relevant to employing staff at the University are Tier 1 (General), Tier 1 (Post Study) and Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent). 

  • Tier 1 (General) is now closed to new applicants but anyone with an unexpired visa under this category can be employed in any job without restrictions for the duration of the visa. Current holders of this visa may be allowed to apply for an extension in some circumstances or can switch,  where appropriate, to Tier 2.
  • Tier 1 (Post Study) is also closed but holders can be employed in any job for the duration of the visa. It is possible to switch from this Tier to Tier 2 but the job must meet the Tier 2 criteria.
  • Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) is for people who are internationally recognised as world leaders or have potential world-leading talent in the fields of science, humanities, engineering, medicine or the arts, and who wish to work in the UK. They need to be ‘endorsed’ by one of the ‘competent bodies’ (e.g. Royal Society). If granted, this visa enables them to work anywhere in the UK and isn't subject to a job offer.  

Tier 2 visas - skilled workers

This is the main route for our migrant skilled workers and is for jobs that require at least a first degree.

There are two stages to apply for this type of limited leave to remain:

Stage 1 - applying for a Certificate of Sponsorship

We are required to get permission to sponsor and employ the worker by applying for a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS).

To apply for a CoS you will normally need to carry out a Resident Labour Market Test and have identified the candidate as the only appointable candidate (for jobs that need a first degree) or the best candidate (for jobs that need a PhD).

There is a UK-wide annual limit of 20,700 on the number of CoS available under Tier 2 (General) and jobs filled by migrant workers will be defined as ‘restricted’ jobs, for which a restricted CoS is required. However, CoS required for the following circumstances will be exempt from the limit and will be termed ‘unrestricted’ jobs:

  • Extensions
  • Changes of employment (e.g. moving to Leeds from another University)
  • Switching immigration category (e.g. from Tier 4 to Tier 2)
  • New hires earning over £150,000

Note that where a migrant worker has been sponsored under Tier 2 and the period of sponsorship comes to an end (or the individual resigns) and the individual leaves the UK the worker cannot be sponsored again under Tier 2 for 12 months from the date of leaving the UK.

Stage 2 - visa application

The individual is required to apply for permission to enter and live in the UK (the visa).

The Resident Labour Market Test

If someone is subject to immigration control and needs a restricted certificate of sponsorship (CoS) to work here, the UK Border Agency requires us to meet the resident labour market test (RLMT).

This involves making sure that the job has been advertised to settled workers for at least 28 days. This means that we have to advertise it for 28 days at Jobcentre Plus* and one of these recognised media:

  • Jobs.ac.uk
  • University of Leeds jobs pages
  • A national newspaper or associated website
  • Nationally recognised professional journals

*Jobs requiring a PhD do not need to be advertised in Jobcentre Plus.

For jobs that need a first degree we have to show that no suitable settled worker is available. For PhD level jobs we have to show that the migrant worker is the most suitable candidate (i.e. it is acceptable for settled workers to be deemed appointable).

To prove the RLMT was met, you need to keep recruitment paperwork for two years. This must include the advert confirmation and interview notes.

Exceptions to the RLMT

  • Where the migrant is a ‘named researcher’ we aren’t required to undertake a RLMT but must be able to produce paperwork confirming that funding was conditional upon the appointment of the particular individual.
  • Tier 4 students moving to Tier 2 (but the job must meet Tier 2 criteria and normal University recruitment processes should be followed).
  • Tier 1 post study workers moving to Tier 2 (but the job must meet Tier 2 criteria and normal University recruitment processes should be followed).

Applying for a Certificate of Sponsorship and the visa application

Stage 1 - applying for a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS)

After the Resident Labour Market Test has been carried out and the migrant worker has been identified as the only appointable candidate (for jobs that need a first degree) or the best candidate (for jobs that need a PhD), or when an existing member of staff needs an extension to their current CoS, HR will be able to apply for a restricted or unrestricted CoS.

The Faculty/School/Service needs to pay the fee for applying for a CoS.

Applying for a restricted CoS

  • You need to complete and submit a CoS application form with the other required paperwork to the Central HR Team.
  • Restricted CoS are allocated on a monthly basis by the Home Office. They meet on the 11th of each month to consider and approve applications. They will notify us within 5 working days of this.
  • Once the restricted CoS is approved the Central HR Team will send the individual the CoS number so that they can apply for their leave to enter and remain in the UK (the visa).

Applying for an unrestricted CoS

  • You need to complete and submit a CoS application form with the other required paperwork to the Central HR Team.
  • The Central HR Team can apply directly for the CoS number. They will let the individual have this so they can apply for their new or extended visa.
  • The fee both types of CoS (2018) is currently £199 which is paid by the Faculty/Service.

Timescales

You'll need to be aware of the following timescales when you are planning the recruitment and selection process:

  • All CoS must be used within three months of the date they are allocated.
  • If the job is research and/or needs a PhD, the CoS must be assigned within twelve months of the date it was first advertised. For all other jobs it needs to be assigned within six months.
  • A CoS is valid for three months from the date it is issued by the Central HR Team. The individual must apply for entry clearance within this period.
  • A CoS can't be assigned and issued more than three months before the start date of employment.
  • Restricted CoS are allocated on a monthly basis by the UKBA. They meet on 11th day of each month to consider and approve applications. They will notify us within five working days. Unrestricted CoS are applied for by Central HR directly to the UKBA.

Stage 2 - visa application

Once we have secured a CoS it is the individual's responsibility to apply and pay for their visa for permission to live and work in the UK (and for any dependants). To be successful, they must meet the required level of points set out for Tier 2 of the Points Based System. The UK Visas and Immigration website has a points calculator to help work this out.

The individual will need to bring their visa (Bio-metric Residence Permit) to Central HR before (or on) their first day of work.

Tier 4 visas - students

Students from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) gain permission to come to the UK to study under Tier 4 of the Points Based System (PBS).

Students holding a valid Tier 4 visa and studying here have permission to work:

  • for up to 20 hours per week during term time;
  • full time during vacations;
  • in a work placement as part of a course;
  • as a postgraduate doctor or dentist on a recognised foundation programme;
  • as a student union sabbatical officer for up to two years;
  • full time when they have finished their course and are waiting for the outcome of an application to work here (at the University of Leeds) under Tier 2 of the PBS. The application must have been made before the expiry of the Tier 4 visa.

All students subject to a Tier 4 visa who are offered work here must read and sign the student declaration form below for each engagement.

There is information about permission to work for students on lower level courses (e.g. most Further Education college courses) on the UK Visas and Immigration website.

Visitors

We welcome visitors from across the world to undertake a variety of academic activities, including conducting research, giving lectures and acting as examiners.

Non-visa nationals seeking leave to enter for six months or less do not need to apply for entry clearance in advance, they can obtain a visa on entry to the UK, although they can apply in advance. Visa nationals must apply for entry clearance in advance in all cases.

To determine the appropriate visa for the required visit, please refer to the ‘Immigration Arrangements – Visitors’ document and the UK Visas & Immigration ‘A UK visa guide for academics’ document via the links below.