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Human Resources

Guidance for Managers

From 1 January 2021, all EU Citizens and EEA/Swiss Nationals wishing to live, work or study in the UK will require a visa. This does not apply to Irish Citizens, who will still be free to work in the UK without one. 

There are many welcome changes with this new system; the minimum skill and salary requirements have been lowered, and we are no longer required to perform a Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT). 

Below we will explore the main changes of each visa category, and explain everything you need to know: 

EEA nationals who are employed by Queen Mary but are not normally resident in the UK will continue to be able to work in the UK without the need for a visa.  Qualifying EEA nationals may be able to apply for a Frontier Workers Permit that will allow them to continue to travel to the UK for work without the need for a work visa. 

Individuals will be able to apply if:

  • they are from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein
  • they live outside of the UK
  • they began working in the UK by 31 December 2020

An individual must usually have worked in the UK at least once every 12 months since they started working here. They may still be able to apply if they have had periods of unemployment or were unable to work during this time.

The Global Talent visa route is available for highly skilled researchers who wish to pursue their career in the UK.  To be considered for entry under the Global Talent visa, applicants must gain an endorsement from one of six endorsing bodies engaged by the Home Office.  

If a candidate is applying for endorsement in the fields of science, engineering, medicine, the social sciences or the humanities, or for other academic and research roles, the Home Office will refer their application to the British Academy, Royal Academy of Engineering, Royal Society or UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) which will make an endorsement decision based on the evidence provided. 

There are four routes for eligible academics and researchers to obtain endorsement for a Global Talent visa. 

Academic and Research Appointments 

  • Is a fast track route for individuals who have accepted a job offer of a senior academic appointment at an approved UK Higher Education intuition or research institute. 
  • The designated recruitment requirements must have been met. 
  • The route is administered by the Royal Society, Royal Academy of Engineering, and British Academy 

Individual Fellowships 

  • Is a fast track route for individuals who have been awarded an eligible fellowship. 
  • The fellowship can be active or have been awarded in the previous twelvemonths. 
  • The route is administered by the Royal Society, Royal Academy of Engineering, and British Academy 

Endorsed Funders 

  • Is a fast track route for researchers and specialists whose name or job title is specified in a successful grant application from an endorsed funder approved by UKRI 
  • The individual can either be named on the grant or have been recruited to a position named on the grant. This includes non-research positions. 
  • The award must be for at least 2 years and worth over £30,000. 
  • The route is administered by UKRI 

Peer Review 

  • ​​​​​​​Is a non-accelerated route for individuals who do not meet the criteria of the other routes. 
  • Applicants must demonstrate they are an exceptional talent or show exceptional promise in their field of research. 
  • The route is administered by the Royal Society, Royal Academy of Engineering, and British Academy 

If somebody is already in the UK on a different Tier 1 visa or a Tier 2 visa, they can apply to switch to a Global Talent Visa. If they are on a Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Government Authorised Exchange) visa on an exchange scheme for sponsored researchers you can also apply to switch. Information on switching to the Global Talent visa can be found on GOV.UK. 

Tier 2 (General) has been replaced by a new “Skilled Worker Route” 

The current Tier 2 (General) visa category has been replaced by a new Skilled Worker route from 1 December 2020. 

There are four main requirements for a Skilled Worker visa: 

  • Must have a job offer from a licensed sponsor (Queen Mary is a licensed sponsor). 
  • The role must meet a minimum skill level 
  • The salary must meet a minimum threshold 
  • The candidate must meet an English language requirement. 

The requirements are similar to the Tier 2 (General) but there are some notable differences: 

  1. The minimum skill level will drop from RQF Level 6 to RQF Level 3 
  2. The minimum salary will reduce from £30,000 to £25,600 
  3. An RLMT is no longer required meaning you can consider all candidates equally regardless of their immigration status 
  4. There will be no annual cap on visas or monthly allocations of Certificates of Sponsorship (Cos). We anticipate that visa processing times will be much quicker than on the previous system  

The cost to your department will be £199 for the Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) + £364 per year Immigration Skills Charge. There are exemptions to these costs for some roles and nationalities.  

Anyone who already has a Tier 2 (General) visa will keep that status after the new immigration system comes in. They will be able to apply for indefinite leave to remain after five years in the usual way. If necessary, they can apply for an extension under the Skilled Worker visa category and combine the time spent on a Tier 2 (General) visa with time spent on a Skilled Worker visa towards the five-year qualifying period for indefinite leave to remain. 

The Student Route is open to individuals coming to the UK to study.  From January 2021 this will also apply to EU Nationals.  

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.  

There will be a post-study Graduate Route for international students 

International students who have graduated from a UK university will be allowed to stay for two years (three years for PhD graduates) and work at any skill level without needing a sponsor. If they find a skilled job with a licensed sponsor, they can switch into the Skilled Worker visa category. It is anticipated that this route will be available from Summer 2021.  

We will update you with more information about this as soon as it is available to us

Government Authorised Exchange will continue to be in use. This 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 roles come with the same duties as Tier 2 / Skilled Worker visa holders. 

Immigration Guidance

Please follow the below links to find out more information about key immigration topics: 

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