This page provides an overview of possible visa routes to obtain permission to work within the UK and at BU.  If required, you will need to obtain this prior to starting work for BU.    

We are keen to support overseas nationals coming to work for BU with their transition to the UK and obtaining the appropriate permission to work. Therefore, if you have a query about a visa application or an immigration issue please contact Human Resources.

Routes of Entry

New Points Based Immigration System

As free movement for EU/EEA/Swiss nationals ceased with effect from 1 January 2021, the UK's Visa and Immigration Service (UKVI) introduced a new immigration points based system (PBS) which applies to new arrivals of EU/EEA/Swiss nationals as well as new and existing non-EU nationals who require a visa. 

The new PBS replaces the old Tiered system and introduces the Skilled Worker and Temporary Worker routes.  The Skilled Worker visa replaces entry under Tier 2 and Temporary Worker entry under Tier 5 with effect from 1 December 2020.

Skilled Worker Visa

BU is an A-rated sponsor licence holder and can issue Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) to sponsor Skilled Workers to work for us.  To qualify for a Skilled Worker Visa you must score a minimum of 70 points from the following:

Offer of a job by an approved sponsor (BU)

 20 Points

Job offer at an appropriate skill level (RQF level 3 and above) supported by a Certificate of Sponsorship

 20 Points                       

English language at level B1 

 10 Points

Minimum Salary requirements met

 20 Points

The maintenance requirement must also be met as part of the visa application, but no ‘points’ are attached to this element

Offer of Employment and Applying for a Visa

If you have successfully applied for and been offered a job at BU, you will receive a conditional offer of employment.  One of the conditions for your offer of employment will be to obtain appropriate permission to work in the UK.  If you are eligible for sponsorship under the Skilled Worker route BU will apply for a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) and let you know once this has been issued. You must then submit your visa application within 3 months of the CoS being issued.  Details of how to apply for your Skilled Worker visa will be included in your offer letter and are also available on the UKVI website.


BU covers the cost of the CoS and reimburses the cost of a standard Skilled Worker visa application. You will need to pay for other associated costs e.g. Immigration Health Surcharge, English Language tests, obtaining certified translations of certificate, Dependent applications (if applicable).  Details of costs are available on the UKVI website. The Immigration Fee Assistance Scheme offers a salary advance to help cover some of these costs for current employees.

Before starting work

Before you can start work with BU, we are required under the Immigration regulations to undertake a right to work check.  This means you will need to show your passport and visa to Human Resources, for certified copies to be taken, prior to a start date being confirmed for work. To arrange this please contact Human Resources.

If you have applied for your visa from outside the UK you will be issued with a short term biometric entry clearance (a vignette in your passport), valid for 30 days (currently 90 days under COVID concessions), in order to travel to the UK to collect your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP).  You must collect your BRP before this visa expires, or within 10 days of their arrival, whichever is later.  You can collect this from your nominated Post Office.  

Temporary Worker (Government Authorised Exchange) Visa

BU is an ‘A rated’ sponsor licence holder and can issue Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) under the Temporary Worker (GAE) route to sponsor researchers for a maximum of 24 months to undertake the following activities:

  • A formal research project or collaboration;
  • A period of work-based training/work experience/internship/placement;
  • Skill development/knowledge transfer;
  • A series of lectures, which doesn’t amount to a formal teaching post, i.e. where they are not filling an advertised position and the work is above the Faculty’s normal requirements;
  • External examinations.

Work or activities undertaken must never amount to a ‘genuine vacancy’ and the role must be supernumerary, which means it is:

  • Over and above BU’s normal staffing requirements (this means it is not usually applicable for an advertised post), and
  • if the person filling the role were not there it wouldn’t be filled by anyone else. 

If you have any queries about this route please contact Human Resources.

Global Talent

The Global Talent visa route is available for talented and promising academics, researchers and specialists who are working in the fields of science, engineering, medicine, the social sciences or the humanities.

With effect from 1 January 2021 this route has been extended to include EU, EEA and Swiss citizens who were not in resident in the UK by 31 December 2020.

There are four different routes through which a Global Talent Visa can be gained and applying for a Global Talent visa is a two stage process and must be undertaken by the applicant. Further details are available on the UKVI website.

If you have any queries about this please contact Human Resources.

Graduate Visa

The Graduate visa route is available to international students who have successfully completed a Bachelors or Postgraduate degree in the UK and who have a valid student visa at the time of application. Students granted a Graduate visa will be able to work in the UK after their studies for up to 2 years, or 3 years if a Doctoral student.

The Graduate visa is unsponsored, and applicants do not need a job offer to apply. There are no minimum salary requirements and graduates on the route can work flexibly and switch jobs as required.

If you are a current BU student and have any queries about this route please contact [email protected].

Other Routes

There may also be other routes of entry available to you, for example family visas or UK Ancestry visas.  Other routes of entry may also be available, the UKVI website offers further details.

Bringing partners, spouses or dependents to the UK

If you are coming to the UK with a spouse, partner or dependent, they may need to apply for a relevant visa. University employees with a Global Talent, Tier 2, Skilled Worker or Temporary Worker (GAE) visa may apply to bring their family to the UK as their dependants. For the purposes of these applications, the Immigration Rules define ‘dependants’ as being:

  • Husband, wife or civil partner;
  • Unmarried or same-sex partner;
  • Child aged under 18 at the time of application.

No other family members are eligible to be dependants

A dependant visa can be obtained from either inside or outside the UK. However, if an individual is applying from inside the UK, they must not be holding a visitor visa, visitor status granted at the border, or a short-term study visa. If they are, they must leave and apply from outside the UK.

There are a number of requirements that must be met in order for an individual to be eligible for a dependant visa and further details are provided on the UKVI website.

Contact Us

If you have any queries about visa requirements for entering the UK and working at BU please do not hesitate to contact us.