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Apply to Work in the UK

Do I need a visa?

If you are not sure whether you need a visa or not, use the Home Office's 'Do I need a Visa?' webpage to help you find out.

Durham University is able to sponsor migrants to work for us under the Skilled Worker Route (Tier 2) and Government Authorised Exchange (Tier 5) providing we comply with UKVI regulations.

Please be aware that only one UK visa can be held at any one time. If you have already submitted an application for any type of visa, then any further applications will result in the original request being cancelled. For further information please refer to the information provided by the Home Office (UKVI).

You may be able to apply for the reimbursement of your Skilled Worker Visa standard application costs. Please visit the Visa Reimbursement Scheme page for details.

Visa routes

Global Talent Visa

The Global Talent Visa has replaced the Tier 1 visa route and is designed to bring the brightest and best talent to the UK in the fields of science, humanities, engineering, the arts and digital technology. To be considered for entry under the Global Talent Visa, applicants must first gain an endorsement from one of the endorsing bodies engaged by the Home Office. Those relevant are The British Academy, Royal Academy of EngineeringThe Royal Society or UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

There is a 2-stage application process to get this visa. If an endorsement is granted, the final immigration decision rests with the Home Office.

There are four routes to obtaining endorsement for a Global Talent visa in the fields of science, engineering, medicine, the social sciences and the humanities:

  1. Academic and research appointments - fast-track endorsement for individuals who have responsibility for academic, research or innovation leadership and development, or who direct or lead an individual or team in:
    • a research project or programme of work; or
    • an innovation project or programme of work

  2. Individual fellowships - fast-track endorsement for individuals who have been awarded an individual fellowship on the list approved by the British Academy, Royal Academy of Engineering and Royal Society. The fellowship must be held currently or within the last 12 months

  3. Endorsed funders - fast-track endorsement for researchers and specialists whose name or job title is specified in a successful grant application from an endorsed funder approved by UKRI. In order to be eligible, researchers must be hosted or employed by eligible institutions named in Annex 2 of the Global Talent Immigration Rules

  4. Peer review - standard endorsement for individuals who submit an application for full peer review by the British Academy, Royal Academy of Engineering or Royal Society

Please see The Royal Society applicant decision tree to identify which route may be most appropriate for you.

For the endorsed funders route, UKRI will review applications from any academic or research discipline. For the other three routes, the applicant must select the appropriate endorsing body based on their field of research.

The British Academy reviews applications from the humanities and social sciences, the Royal Academy of Engineering covers engineering, and the Royal Society covers the natural and medical sciences.

The full list of eligible disciplines and sub-disciplines per endorsing body is available in the Home Office Guidance.

For queries, please see The Royal Academy frequently asked questions or if you have any questions please contact Paula Christon, Human Resources 

Skilled Worker Route (formerly Tier 2)

The majority of non-UK or Irish staff who work for the University and require a visa will be sponsored under the Skilled Worker Route; this is for migrants who have an offer of employment with the University. In order to apply for a Skilled Worker Visa  a migrant must have a valid Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) issued to them by the University via the HR department.

For information on applying for a Skilled Worker Visa please see the Home Office (UKVI) website.

Student visa (formerly Tier 4 visa)

Each year Durham University admits several hundred international students, who are managed by the Student Immigration Office (SIO). For more information on working during your studies please see our information for students working in the UK.

Temporary Workers - Government Authorised Exchange Scheme (GAE) (including sponsored researchers)

The GAE route allows people to travel to the UK to satisfy primarily non-economic objectives. If you require further information on the GAE route, contact Paula Christon, Human Resources 

The Temporary Worker category comprises the following sub-categories:

  • Creative and Sporting - For creative workers and sportspeople coming to work or perform in their relevant sector
  • Charity Workers - For people coming to do voluntary fieldwork directly related to a UK Charity
  • Religious Workers - For people coming to do religious work, for example in non-pastoral roles
  • Government Authorised Exchange (GAE) - For a variety of approved schemes aimed at sharing knowledge, experience and best practice through skilled work

The University can currently only engage employees/workers through the Creative and Sporting category and the Government Authorised Exchange category.

For full information on the immigration categories please visit the Home Office (UKVI) website.

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