Human Resources

Right to work in the UK

All candidates are asked to complete a section on their right to work in the UK on the application form and to provide documentary evidence of their status at the interview stage.  Any documents provided will then be photocopied.  The evidence to be provided depends on the individual's immigration status and may include a passport, a certificate of registration or naturalisation, or a birth certificate when presented with proof of National Insurance number.  A full list of acceptable documents can be found here -->

Before making an offer, panel chairs should contact their HR Officer who will assist in determining the applicants status, and if necessary will advise on obtaining the appropriate visa. It is important to note that there are only a limited number of posts for which visas will be issued (i.e. highly skilled and/or ‘shortage’ occupations). It is highly unlikely that any posts other than academic or research posts will be eligible. However, it is vital that any decisions are made in accordance with the College’s Equal Opportunities Policy.  Please refer to the Recruitment & Selection Guide for further information, and/or contact your HR Officer.

Employing staff who need to acquire the right to work in the UK

There are a number of Tiers to the points based system, below are those which are relevant to employment at Birkbeck. 

Tier 2 - Certificates of Sponsorship

Successful job applicants are sponsored by their potential employer who issues a certificate of sponsorship (CoS) which the individual then uses to apply for a visa.  CoS are issued for a maximum of 5 years. 

The CoS is issued based on the job details and applicant’s personal details.  HR will apply to the UK Visas and Immigration for a CoS at the point an applicant who requires sponsorship has been offered a job.  When applying, we need to demonstrate that the job meets the criteria for sponsorship for various areas such as essential qualifications, minimum salary level and advertising in line with the labour market test requirements.  This means that the post must have been advertised in the appropriate media for a minimum of 4 weeks.   

It can take up to a month for the UKVI to confirm whether a CoS is available.  If a CoS is available, it is issued to the applicant within 3 months of allocation and within 12 months of when the post was first advertised (for Academic and Researcher posts).  The applicant must then apply for the appropriate visa. 

The certificate of sponsorship does not guarantee that the applicant will be able to obtain a visa to enter or stay in the UK, the applicant must meet the visa conditions by scoring sufficient points for attributes such as English language skills and meeting the minimum maintenance requirement, currently £945 in available funds for the 3 months prior to the application.

Named Researchers can also be sponsored under Tier 2 but without the need to advertise the post.  The individual must meet the UK Visas and Immigration definition of a named researcher as follows: “an individual who is linked to specific research grants awarded to Higher Education Institutes or Research Institutes by external organisations who are specifically named on the grant because of their knowledge and expertise in the relevant field, if they were unable to come to the UK the research grant would be cancelled.”  A copy of the grant papers naming the individual as the named Researcher will be kept on the individual’s HR file and may be requested by the UK Visas and Immigration. 

Full details Tier 2 guidance can be found on the UK Visas and Immigration website:

Settlement/Indefinite stay

Settlement rules vary depending on the date the first visa was granted.  Those granted a visa before 6 April 2011 may be eligible to apply for settlement after 5 years, or 6 years if the first visa was issued after 6 April 2011.  In addition, the individual must not have been absent from the UK for longer than 180 days per year for the 5 or 6 year period.   

If an individual is not eligible for settlement a further extension to the Tier 2 visa can be issued for individuals who were granted their first visa before 6 April 2011.  If the first visa was issued after 6 April 2011 an extension cannot be issued and the individual will need to leave the UK and cannot return on another Tier 2 visa for 12 months. 

Full details on settlement can be found on the UK Visas and Immigration website:

Tier 4 - Student eligibility to work

Individuals with student visas (Tier 4) and who are studying at a Higher Education establishment are able to work in the UK without needing to obtain another visa.  Working hours are restricted to 20 hours per week.

Students can apply to switch to a Tier 2 visa in the UK subject to meeting Tier 2 criteria and on condition that the current visa has not expired and that they have either successfully completed and passed a UK recognised bachelor or postgraduate degree or have completed a minimum of 12 months study in the UK towards a UK PhD.

Tier 1 – Highly Skilled Migrant & Post Study

Job applicants who already have Tier 1 status can be employed by Birkbeck without any further sponsorship or visa requirements.

Tier 1 (Highly Skilled Migrant route) is now closed for new applicants however individuals who already hold a Tier 1 visa are able to apply for an extension to their existing visa.  Tier 1 (Post Study route), which enabled students to work in the UK for two years following completion of their course of study, has also closed however staff who have a visa through this route can switch into Tier 2 but must apply before their Tier 1 visa expires.

Tier 5 – Government Authorised Exchange

Tier 5 Temporary Worker - Government Authorised Exchange visa can be used those who want to come to the UK for a short time for work experience or to do training.  Requests for this route at Birkbeck usually come from PhD students wishing to spend longer than 6 months in the UK but who will not be registered students and who usually have a grant/bursary or fellowship to fund their stay in the UK. 

Further details on this route can be found here:

Academic Visitors (up to 12 months)

An individual who is on sabbatical leave from an overseas academic institution and who wants to use their leave to carry out research in the UK (for example, to do research for a book) can apply for a visitor visa of up to 12 months.  Individuals with academic visitor visas cannot receive payment from Birkbeck during their stay however reasonable expenses can be reimbursed.  Birkbeck will provide the individual with a letter formally outlining the purpose of their visit.  Details, including the application process, can be found on the UKVI website:

External Examiners/‘One off’ Lectures

External Examiners and Academics undertaking ‘one off’ lectures can apply for a visitor visa which allows them to undertake “paid engagements” of up to one month.  Birkbeck will provide the individual with a letter formally inviting them to be an external examiner or to give the lecture.  The application process depends on the nationality of the individual.  Details can be found on the UKVI website :

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The HR team is based on the first floor of Egmont House
Postal address: Human Resources, Birkbeck, University of London, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HX