Skip to main content

Human Resources

Immigration and International Staff

These webpages are designed to provide information to both current and prospective staff joining Queen Mary from outside of the European Economic Area (EEA).  This guidance includes the process to follow when appointing someone who needs to obtain the right to work through the Points Based System and the ongoing responsibilities throughout that individual’s employment.  

Adherence to this guidance will ensure Queen Mary's continued legal compliance with UK Immigration law and make for a smooth recruitment process.

At present individuals coming to the UK from countries within the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland can work in the UK without having to apply for a visa.  EEA and Swiss nationals are considered "settled" workers and have the same rights as UK nationals. 

Individuals moving to the UK from outside the EEA must hold a valid permission to work in the UK.  The majority of whom must use the points based system in order to work in the UK. 

If offered employment by the University, individuals in all of the above groups will be required to produce satisfactory documentary proof of entitlement to work in the UK in the job they have been appointed to.

Non-EEA nationals who do not have a right to work in the UK will have to apply through the UK's immigration system.  There are multiple routes available depending on what an individual intends to do when they are in the UK. 

Since 2008 the UK has used a points based system (PBS) for immigration from outside the EEA. The system is made up of 5 tiers, 4 of which are active. Each tier has different points requirements. The number of points an individual needs and the way the points are awarded depends on the tier they are applying under. Points will be awarded to reflect the individual's ability, experience, age, qualifications, income and, when appropriate, the level of need within the sector in which they will be working. 

Most applicants under the points based system will require sponsorship before they can make a visa application. Queen Mary is able to sponsor applicants under Tiers 2, 4, and 5.  The points based system is explained in the table below. Tier 2 is the prefered route for skilled workers however, eligible employees can also make use of the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa route.

For those not currently in the UK, the application and assessment is done in their home country. 

On 20 February 2020 the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa was replaced by the Global Talent Visa.

Global Talent is open to academics and researchers who are internationally recognised as either world leaders or potential world-leading talent in their fields. There are four routes available to applicants including fast track routes for Senior Academic appointees, holders of eligible fellowships, and individuals working on successful grant applications from an endorsed funder. 

Tier 2 is open to skilled workers. It is the most common category 

Tier 2 is the main route for non-EEA nationals to work in the UK. Any worker coming under this route must hold a valid job offer and a Certificate of Sponsorship from approved sponsor. 

Tier 2 comes with the most conditions and restrictions which means the University has a duty to record and maintain the personal details and monitor the activities of all sponsored staff. 

Tier 4 is open to individuals coming to the UK to study.   

Individuals using this route are expected to be in the UK primarily to study. As such their ability to work is limited during term time. At undergraduate level and above this will normally be to 20 hours per week. It is Queen Mary's responsibility to ensure that all students undertaking work for the University are not exceeding their weekly limit. 

Tier 5 is open to temporary workers visiting the UK for up to two year.

The Temporary Worker route allows individuals to enter the UK for a variety of specific activities for a maximum of two years.

There are two options that you are likely to encounter: 

  • Youth Mobility which allows under 30s from approved countries to live and work in the UK for up to two years without restriction. This visa does not require sponsorship. 
  • Government Authorised Exchange (GAE) which allows academics and researchers to take part in exchanges with HEIs in the UK. They must not be taking up a normal vacancy. As a sponsored worker these role come with the same duties as Tier 2 workers.  If you wish to invite someone to the UK under this category please refer to our page on Tier 5.
Return to top