Human Resources

Visa information for staff

See guidance for working at Sussex on a Skilled Worker visa (formerly a Tier 2 visa) or Temporary Work – International Agreement visa (previously a Tier 5 visa).

Skilled Worker visas

The UK government’s Skilled Worker visa has replaced the Tier 2 (General) work visa.

Find out more about:

Temporary worker visas

The UK government’s Temporary Work – International Agreement visa has replaced the Tier 5 temporary worker visa.

Find out more about:


Guidance

See our guidance relating to staff with visas in the above two categories:

You can also find out about visa delays and allowances because of Covid-19.

Absences

Sponsored visa-holders should report all absences (i.e. annual leave, sickness, paternity, maternity, adoption leave) to their Line Manager immediately using the agreed absence monitoring policy for their School/Division. Schools and Divisions should contact sponsored visa-holders at least each term to request/confirm recent periods of leave.

Normal absence reporting

Sponsored visa-holders should follow the normal absence reporting procedures for their staff group for absences such as:

  • sickness
  • annual leave
  • maternity/paternity leave.

Records of absence must be readily available in personal files for audit purposes.

If a visa-holder’s salary or funding changes as a result of taking maternity, paternity, shared parental, adoption, or sick leave (i.e, a drop to statutory maternity pay, reduced pay while on sick leave or a period of unpaid leave) this must be reported to the International HR Team: InternationalHR@sussex.ac.uk.

The change should be reported within 5 days of the date of the change.

Failure to attend on the first day

If a visa-holder does not attend work on the first day stated on their Certificate of Sponsorship this should be reported to the International
HR Team at InternationalHR@sussex.ac.uk immediately.

Unauthorised absence

An unauthorised absence would occur when a sponsored visa holder fails to attend when attendance is expected and they have not communicated their absence to their School or Division. For example: a failure to deliver a timetabled lecture or tutorial, an unexplained absence from a conference or a committee meeting, an unexplained absence from work when attendance would normally be expected.

If an unauthorised absence appears to have occurred, the School or Division should contact the visa holder immediately to ascertain whether the absence is in fact due to normal work activity, illness or holiday. If an unauthorised absence of 10 consecutive working days or more occurs this should be reported to the International HR Team at InternationalHR@sussex.ac.uk within 5 working days of the tenth day of absence.

If an unauthorised absence of 10 consecutive days occurs but normal working is subsequently resumed, this must still be reported to the International HR Team.

Contact details

Contact details for sponsored visa-holders must be kept up to date. Sponsored visa-holders must be contactable within a reasonable period of time by email or phone.

Work-related travel

Normal work related travel, such as attending UK conferences, working from home or work meetings within the UK does not need to be recorded or reported. If the visa-holder is planning a trip where they will be unreachable by phone or e mail they must inform their Line Manager before they leave.

Unpaid leave

Sponsored Tier 2 and Tier 5 visa holders may not take unpaid leave amounting to more than four weeks in total, according to their normal working pattern*, in a calendar year (January-December) except in the case of maternity, paternity, shared parental, adoption, or sick leave – please contact the International HR Team at once if unpaid leave is being considered.

For example, if the normal working pattern was four days a week, the limit would be 16 days (four work weeks).

There have been some further changes to the immigration guidance which now allow additional exceptions to immigration consequences around the 4 week rule. These include:

  • Taking part in legal strike action
  • Where a sponsored worker undertakes assistance with a national or humanitarian or environmental crisis overseas, provided the employer agreed to the absence for that purpose

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) applications

If a visa holder wishes to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) a complete record of all overseas travel during the five year qualifying period will be required. Applicants should ensure that all travel outside the UK both for private and work reasons is recorded (e.g. in an Outlook diary, calendar or a form provided by the HR contact in the School or Division).

Please note: with effect from 11 January 2018, the way in which the "continuous residence" requirement under the standard ILR route is counted has changed significantly. The "continuous residence" requirement has changed from:

  • no more than 180 days absence from the UK in any consecutive period of 12 months within the five year qualifying period to
  • no more than 180 days absence from the UK in any period of 12 months within the five year qualifying period

This means that instead of counting the 180 day limit in each of five 12 month blocks counted back from the date of application, the 180 day limit is now counted within any rolling 12 month period during the five years. This is a significant change with retrospective effect which means it is no longer possible to split a longer period of absence across two consecutive 12 month periods.

Please also note: with effect from 11 January 2018, dependants applying for ILR must also meet the "continuous residence" requirement, but only for absences during time spent under visas issued after 11 January 2018.

We recommend to new visa-holders and those applying to extend that their dependants should also start to keep a record of all their travel outside the UK in order to meet the "continuous residence" rule when they come to apply for ILR.

Sabbatical leave

If a sponsored visa holder plans to take a period of paid sabbatical leave please contact the International HR Team for advice.

For line managers

If you manage a sponsored visa-holder, make sure these guidelines are communicated regularly, e.g. termly to sponsored visa-holders in Schools and Divisions.

More questions

See FAQs about Certificates of Sponsorship for more answers.