If you are applying for a position at Aston University and you currently live overseas, the following pages provide guidance and support regarding immigration and eligibility to work.
- Information about the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS)
The EU Settlement scheme allowed those who were resident in the UK before 31 December 2020 to continue to live, work and study in the UK after Brexit. The deadline for applications to the EU Settlement Scheme was 30 June 2021.
If you are the close family member of an EU/EEA/Swiss national, you can still apply if your relative:
- started living in the UK by 31 December 2020
- has settled or pre-settled status, have applied and are waiting for a decision or are eligible for settled or pre-settled status,
- you’re joining them in the UK on or after 1 April 2021
There are also a limited number of circumstances where it is possible for EU/EEA/Swiss nationals to apply to the scheme after the deadline.
You can find details about applying as the family member of an EU/EEA/Swiss national and applying after the deadline on the gov.uk website here.
Irish Nationals do not need to apply for settlement as they retain the right to work in the UK.
EU/EEA/Swiss nationals arriving in the UK for the very first time on or after 1 January 2021 will be required to gain an appropriate work visa in advance of travel to the UK.
With the end of free movement for EU/EEA/Swiss nationals from 1 January 2021, the UK's new immigration system will apply equally to all non-UK/Irish nationals who require a visa.
Where an individual is subject to UK immigration control, they will require a visa to work in the UK.
The following individuals do not need a visa for the UK, but do still have to prove their right to work before employment can commence:
- British Citizens or Irish Nationals
- EU/EEA/Swiss nationals with Settled or Pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme
- Non-EEA nationals with Indefinite Leave to Remain/Settlement in the UK
There are two main routes available for those who need a visa to work in the UK: Skilled Worker and Global Talent; please also find information below about the Graduate Route.
- Skilled Worker
Employees coming from overseas can apply through the Skilled Worker Route. If you are applying via this route, we will provide you with a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) which you will need when applying for your visa.
To qualify for a Skilled Worker Visa, you must score a minimum of 70 points from the following attributes:
*Offer of a job by an approved sponsor
*Job offer at an appropriate skill level (RQF level 3 and above) supported by a certificate of sponsorship
**Minimum Salary requirements met
*These elements are all mandatory requirements and there is no option to “trade points”; all candidates applying for a Skilled Worker Visa will need these in order to be eligible to apply.
**For this element, where the minimum salary points are not met, e.g. where the individual is paid below the salary threshold; It will be possible to ‘trade points’, provided salary is not below the minimum required for the role. Please see minimum salary information for further clarification and example.
You should ensure that you meet the eligibility requirements, including meeting the English language standards. If you do not meet the eligibility criteria, any application for a work visa would be unsuccessful. Please see UKVI guidance for further information on eligibility, knowledge of English requirements and approved test centres https://www.gov.uk/tier-2-general
Applying for a Skilled Worker Visa
The following FAQs provides answers to key questions on the processes and procedures in obtaining a Skilled Worker Visa to work at the University.
Starting employment at Aston
You will need to start work at Aston within 28 days of the latest of:
- the start date recorded on your CoS
- the date your entry clearance visa becomes valid
- the date you are granted permission to enter or permission to stay (i.e. the date that you receive confirmation that your visa has been approved)
If you don’t start work within this timeframe, Aston will need to withdraw sponsorship of your visa, and you will need to make a new visa application.
If you think you may not be able to start work on the start date confirmed on your CoS, please contact HR as soon as possible.
It may be possible to update the start date on your CoS, but only while your visa application is still pending. If your visa application has been decided by the Home Office, it will not be possible to update your start date.
Skilled Worker Visa conditions
You will not be allowed access to state benefits or other public funds. See the UKVI website for full definitions.
The only work that you can do is:
- The job described in the Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS), working for the designated sponsor; and
- Supplementary employment in the same profession and at the same professional level, outside your normal working hours or in a job on the shortage occupation list, for up to 20 hours per week (existing employees should speak to an immigration lead within HR to check before undertaking this); and
- Unpaid voluntary work
Individuals applying for a Skilled Worker Visa can also apply for visas for their dependants.
Recognising the significant initial cost incurred by staff who need a visa in order to work for us, the University’s Executive has agreed to the introduction of a visa loan scheme for international staff. The scheme details and are available on the HR Policies, Guidance and Procedures web page, under Working at Aston.
- Global Talent Visa
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. Applying for a Global Talent visa is a two-stage process and must be undertaken by the applicant.
Stage 1: Applying for, and obtaining, endorsement from the endorsing bodies engaged by the Home Office
Stage 2: Visa application
There are four different routes through which a Global Talent Visa can be gained.Image
For further information and how to apply visit https://www.gov.uk/global-talent
- Graduate Immigration Route
The Graduate Route is open to current Student visa holders who have successfully completed an eligible Bachelors or Masters degree in the UK. It grants permission for 2 years (or 3 years for PhD graduates) to work in the UK.
The Graduate visa does not require sponsorship and allows holders to do any type of work, change jobs, and be employed or self-employed at any skill level.
It is not a route to settlement, but it is possible to switch to a Skilled Worker visa within the UK at any point during the validity of the visa.
For more details about the Graduate Route, see the gov.uk website.
- Visa Loan Scheme
Recognising the significant initial cost incurred by obtaining a UK visa, the University has introduced a loan scheme to assist new and existing international staff with spreading the costs of securing UK visas. The scheme provides an interest free loan of up to £10,000, subject to eligibility, to cover the costs incurred in order to take up employment or to remain in employment at Aston (please note this is available to prospective employees after they have started).
The scheme details and are available on the HR Policies, Guidance and Procedures web page, under Working at Aston.
- Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) Requirements
Any individual who will be undertaking research activities, at PhD level or above in one of the Academic subjects/fields of research relevant to ATAS, will be required to apply for a ATAS certificate free of charge before they can apply for a visa to start or continue working in the UK. The ATAS requirement only applies to certain nationalities, and in certain roles and research fields.
As part of the ATAS application process, you will be required to submit information about your programme of research including the relevant 'CAH3' code. This will be provided by HR. Please note that you should not write the statement of research yourself.
An ATAS certificate may be required as part of the application process for the following immigration routes:
- Skilled Worker visa;
- Temporary Worker GAE (Tier 5) visa;
- Visitor visa application.
If you will be employed by Aston or will be visiting to undertake research, you will need to apply under the ‘researcher’ category.
When you receive your ATAS certificate, please check the details and contact HR if there are any inaccuracies or if the certificate has been issued under the wrong category – e.g. under the ‘student’ category instead of researcher.
What is ATAS?
The Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) is a scheme administered by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and is aimed at preventing the transfer of information, knowledge or technology which could develop, advance or support an Advanced Conventional Military Technology (ACMT) and Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) programme or their means of delivery. It applies to all international students (other than exempt nationalities) who are subject to UK immigration control and intend to study at postgraduate level in certain sensitive subjects. Such students must apply for an ATAS certificate before they can study in the UK.
The ATAS requirement covers individuals undertaking research activities at PhD level or above, applying for a Skilled Worker, Government Authorised Exchange (Tier 5) visa and academic visitors. Anyone (apart from exempt nationalities) who will be conducting research at PhD level or above in a particular subject area will need to have applied for and received an ATAS certificate BEFORE a certificate of sponsorship can be issued.
Will I have to pay for the ATAS certificate?
No, there is no fee attached to the ATAS certificate.
How will I know if I need an ATAS certificate?
You can check whether or not you require an ATAS certificate by using the online tool on the government website: https://www.academic-technology-approval.service.gov.uk/
A list of the subject areas requiring an ATAS certificate can be accessed via the following link.
Which nationalities are exempt from the ATAS certificate?
Researchers who are nationals of EU countries, the European Economic Area (EEA), Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland or the United States of America do not need an ATAS certificate. A full list of countries that are exempt can be found here
Can I apply for my visa before I have applied for or received my ATAS certificate?
No – If you require an ATAS certificate you will need to have received it BEFORE you can receive your Certificate of Sponsorship from Aston University and submit your visa application. You need to attach your ATAS certificate to your visa application.
What do I do with my ATAS certificate when I receive it?
You will need to send it to the person that you are liaising with about your visa in HR. When you receive the decision regarding your ATAS application you must let the recruiting manager and HR know.
Can my employment commence before I receive my ATAS certificate?
Aston University could have their sponsor licence revoked. An employer must not continue to sponsor a worker who is subject to the ATAS requirement if they either refuse to apply for an ATAS certificate, or the FCDO refuses their application.
Do I need an ATAS certificate if I am applying for a visa from inside the UK?
Yes. If you are applying to switch into the Skilled Worker route or for an extension to your current visa you will need to apply for an ATAS certificate if one is required. You can check this here: https://www.academic-technology-approval.service.gov.uk/
How long does it take to process an application for an ATAS certificate?
It will take at least 20 working days (4 full weeks) to process a researcher ATAS application. Processing times will increase between April and September and can take 30 or more working days to complete.
There is no fast-track option available. ATAS certificates will be processed in order of receipt.
What documents are required for an application for an ATAS certificate?
You can apply online for the ATAS certificate and find out here what documents you need to submit as part of your application.
As part of the application for an ATAS certificate, new staff / visitors at Aston University who are liable for an ATAS certificate must be provided with a research statement as agreed by the recruiting manager/department. The applicant should NOT write the statement of research themselves. The recruiting manager will be asked by HR to obtain/provide an appropriate research statement for the applicant to submit as part of their application.
The ATAS Research Summary Statement template must be completed by the department and then sent to HR to send to the new employee. The new employee should include the statement as part of their ATAS application.
How do I apply for an ATAS certificate?
You can apply online
How long is an ATAS certificate valid for?
An ATAS certificate is valid for 6 months once issued – if it has not been used in an application for entry clearance or permission to stay within this period, you will need to apply for a new one.
- Before you start and Right to work
Travelling to the UK
Prior to travelling to the UK, please check the latest government guidance on red list travel ban countries, quarantine and testing rules for Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Your job offer from the University will be on the condition that you can prove you have permission to live and work in the UK. It is therefore essential to ensure that you have gained your Visa and relevant documentation prior to travelling to the UK. For further information on completing your immigration application please see the UK Visas and immigration website.
90-day entry vignette
If you have applied for your visa outside of the UK, you will receive a vignette in your passport which is usually for 90 days. This allows you to travel to the UK within the validity dates of the vignette – please ensure that you don’t travel to the UK before the start or after the end date of this visa.
You will also receive a decision letter confirming details about your immigration permission and where to collect your Biometric Residence Permit.
Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)
Your BRP card will replace your entry vignette as your visa, and contains your personal details and information about your visa conditions.
Once you arrive in the UK, you will have 10 days to collect your BRP card.
When you complete your visa application form, you can choose from a selection of post offices from which to collect your BRP, based on the UK address that you provide.
Please do not choose Aston University as a designated address to collect your BRP card as this service is for Student visas only.
Right to work check
Why do we do right to work checks?
The University has a legal responsibility to ensure that all employees have the right to work in the UK, Under the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 and the Immigration Act 2016.
Right to work checks must be carried out for every person the University intends to employ regardless of their nationality before they begin any work. If we do not comply with our duty to ensure our employees have the right to work in the UK, there are serious penalties for the University.
If you have received an offer of employment with the University, this will be subject to us verifying that you are eligible to work in the UK before you start work.
Prior to an agreed start date, all new employees will receive a welcome letter outlining the arrangements for their right to work check.
Confirming your Right to Work online
If you have a BRP card, Aston University will need to confirm your Right to Work in the UK using the online checking service.
Once you have arrived in the UK, we will ask you to provide us with a share code via the UK government website. To do this, you will need to enter your:
- BRP card number and
- Date of birth
You will not be able to generate a share code until you have your BRP number, so it’s important to collect your BRP card as soon as possible when you arrive in the UK.
If you will not be able to collect your BRP card before you need to start work, we will ask for your entry vignette instead. We will still need to confirm your status online as soon as possible once you have collected your BRP.
If you are already in the UK and you have applied to extend your existing visa, we will ask you to provide confirmation of your visa application, and permission to check your immigration status with the Home Office.
- Cost of Living
There are various costs of living associated with living in the UK that you should take into consideration:
Rent or mortgage
Monthly rental costs can vary depending on whether you are renting a room or an entire flat/house so it is worth looking at your options early on. Deposits are also commonplace when you sign a rental agreement, and these tend to be the equivalent of one months’ rent.
This is paid to the local authorities to cover services such as street maintenance, refuge collection and the emergency services. Council tax rates are dependent on various factors, so it is worth bearing this in mind. Further information can be found here https://www.gov.uk/council-tax
Water, gas and electricity
UK water rates differ depending on where you live and how you are charged. If you are renting a property, you should check if this cost is included in your monthly rental agreement. The majority of people are charged a yearly water rate (you may be billed once or twice a year) which covers the domestic water supply and associated costs such as maintaining water quality. A minority of people have a water meter instead, which in some cases may prove a cheaper alternative.
Gas and electricity can be provided by one supplier and rates vary. You can compare multiple suppliers using any comparison website.
To avoid receiving a fine, you must have a TV license to watch or record programmes on a TV, computer or other device as they’re broadcast. This also applies if you are downloading or watching BBC programmes on iPlayer.
Telephone and internet
There are multiple providers offering various deals so make sure you choose the right package for you, depending on your requirements. Most companies will ask you to sign up for a 12-month contract.
Road tax, MOT and car insurance are all requirements to run a car in the UK. See the DVLA website for more information.
During your first few weeks in Birmingham you may want to register with a General Practitioner (GP). You can do this via the NHS website.
If you are relocating to Birmingham from overseas, we are able to offer temporary accommodation at Conference Aston, which is based on the Aston University Campus in Birmingham City Centre.
Conference Aston offer everything you’d expect from a modern city centre hotel and offer ample workspace with a desk and great lighting. Free WiFi is also available through the hotel.
For further information, room prices and booking, please see following link:
Estate and Letting Agents
There are numerous Estate and Letting Agents in and around Birmingham that can help you find suitable accommodation. The Midland Landlord Accreditation Scheme provides a list of professional agencies and landlords who have applied with them for accreditation. Whilst accreditation is not a guarantee of quality, it provides some reassurance about the standard of the service they provide. You can also use property search websites such as Rightmove or Zoopla.
Opening a Bank Account
If you are starting a new post at the University, and arriving in the UK for the first time, you will need to open a bank account. To open a bank account you will need to show the following documents at the bank to confirm your identity and address:
- Your passport
- Evidence of your address overseas (passport or driving licence)
- Evidence of your address in Birmingham (tenancy agreement or utility bills)
- Proof of employment (contract)
- Residence permit (BRP)
If you are starting with us at the University and you require a letter to help you open a bank account, please use our online appointment booking service.
If you are a new starter at the University you will be paid on the 26th of each month or sooner where 26th falls on a weekend, bank holiday or University closure day. Please be aware – if you are starting on or after the 10th of the month, you will be paid the following month.
National Insurance (NI Number)
A National Insurance number is unique to you. It makes sure that the National Insurance contributions and tax you pay are properly recorded against your name. It also acts as a reference number when communicating with the Department for Work and Pensions and HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). The amount of national insurance you pay will depend upon your earnings and is subject to a maximum. If you have not got a National Insurance number you will need to apply for a NI Number. Once you know your National Insurance number then you should let HR know.
In the UK Income Tax, also known as Pay As You Earn (PAYE), is deducted from your wages each month. The amount of tax that you pay will depend on how much you earn and there is a minimum amount that you need to earn before tax will be deducted.
There is a useful tool which allows you to enter your total annual salary and will calculate your approximate monthly take home pay. (Please note this is only a guide and is not exact).
- Your first day
If you are a new member of staff at Aston your line manager will be in touch with you to make the arrangements for your first day and will discuss your induction plan with you.
Computer login details
All potential employees are required to have a right to work check, regardless of their nationality and this must be conducted before employment commences.
If you have received an offer of employment with the University, this will be subject to us verifying that you are eligible to work in the UK before you start work.
You will be issued your Aston University computer login details after your right to work check has been completed. This will provide you with access to University Computing Facilities.
The Aston Staff Portal is the University's staff self service portal.
To login, you will need to enter your staff network username and password. The first time you login you will see the onboarding page. Please complete/check all your information to ensure this is correct and up-to-date. Once your details have been fully completed, the next time you login you will see your home page. You will then be able to:
- Maintain your personal details.
- Book your annual leave through the staff portal.
- Book courses.
- View payslips (2 days before payday).
- View P60.
Staff ID Card
On arrival at the University, on your start date, you can collect your ID card from Digital Services Reception. Prior to collecting your ID card you will be invited to upload your photo on to the Aston Staff Portal. Instructions on how to upload your photo will be sent to you along with your account log in (after your clearances have been received). This will usually be sent prior to your start date.
Please click the following link for further information on opening hours and contact details for the Digital Services Helpdesk Reception.
If you work outside of these hours or require your ID card before you start, please contact your line manager.