Types of permission to work in the UK

There are several types of work visa. The most common at the University are Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent), Tier 2 (General) and Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Government Authorised Exchange).

Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent)

This immigration route is for highly skilled individuals in the fields of science, humanities, engineering, the arts (including film, fashion design and architecture) and digital technology who’ll enrich the UK’s knowledge, economy and society.

There are 2 paths:

  • Exceptional Talent, for those who are internationally recognised as having made significant contributions as a leader in their field, or
  • Exceptional Promise, which is for those who’ve demonstrated the potential to contribute significantly as a future leader in their field

This is a work visa, but it isn’t linked to a job offer and doesn’t require sponsorship by the University.

This route will be succeeded by the Global Talent visa with effect from 20 February 2020.

Tier 2 (General)

This immigration route is for skilled workers coming to the UK to fill jobs at graduate level and above.

They’ll need a job offer from the University, and we’ll need to apply for sponsorship from UKVI. Both they and the University need the meet all of the criteria to be able to employ they.

In most cases, we can appoint the best candidate but, for some roles, we have to appoint a suitable settled worker (someone from the UK or EEA/Switzerland) if one’s available before being able to consider someone who needs a visa to work in the UK.

Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Government Authorised Exchange)

This visa type’s primarily for sponsored researchers from outside the EEA/Switzerland, who want to come to the UK for up to 2 years and, during their time at the University:

  • Will take part in financially sponsored research
  • Won’t be employed by the University
  • Won’t be self-funded
  • Will receive funding from a UK/overseas funding body or from their overseas employer which is at least the equivalent of the UK National Minimum Wage
  • Won’t fill a genuine vacancy (one that’s part of our normal staffing requirements)
  • Will do skilled work at NVQ3 level (‘A’ level in the UK) or above
  • Will be able to support themselves (and any dependants) without public funds
  • Intend to leave the UK at the end of their visit

They’ll need the offer of a role, and sponsorship by the University, to be able to apply for this visa type.

Dependant visas

We can also employ someone who's in the UK as a dependant of a Points Based System visa holder or an EEA/Swiss person, and the restrictions on their employment are much less onerous. 

You can find information on other types of work visas on UKVI’s web pages.

If you or your appointee have any questions about permission to work in the UK, you can contact your HR hub.