Information for overseas candidates 


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.

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Information about the EU Settlement Scheme

Free movement for EU/EEA/Swiss citizens ended on 31 December 2020. If you are an EU/EEA/Swiss citizen and were resident in the UK by 31 December 2020 and wish to continue to live, study or work in the UK beyond 30 June 2021 you and your family members must apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.  The deadline for applications is 30 June 2021.

Irish Nationals do not need to apply for settlement as they retain the right to work in the UK.

To be eligible to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme you must have been living in the UK by 31 December 2020. Close family members who were not living in the UK by 31 December 2020 will be able to join their EU family member in the UK at any point in the future, as long as the relationship still exists.

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. This does not apply to Irish Nationals who retain the right to work in the UK.

The University has a designated page with regular updates on how Brexit impacts applicants, current students, exchange students and staff.

Alternatively, for more information please visit the EU Settlement Scheme on the Government website.

Immigration

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 resident in the UK by or before 31 December 2020
  • 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 about the Doctoral extension scheme.
 

Skilled Worker Visa (previously Tier 2)

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.

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 new arrivals of EU/EEA/Swiss nationals as it will to new and existing non-EU nationals who require a visa. Please note that this does not apply to Irish Nationals who retain the right to work in the UK.

As part of this, on 1 December 2020, the Tier 2 (General) visa route was closed and replaced with the ‘Skilled Worker Visa’ route.

No further applications for Tier 2 visas can be made from 1 December 2020, but existing Tier 2 visa holders will retain their current visas with no change to their conditions, and at the point of extension will apply for a Skilled Worker Visa under the rules of this visa route.

Points
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

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

*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 of £20,480.  Please see minimum salary information for further clarification and example.

Eligibility
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.

Skilled Worker Visa conditions
You will not be allowed access to state benefits or other public funds. See the UKVI website for full definitions.

Registration with the police (only required if you are a national of certain countries and you will be residing in the UK for more than 6 months).

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 professsion 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.

Family members
Individuals applying for a Skilled Worker Visa can also apply for visas for their dependants.

Visa loans
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 application process via the staff portal will shortly be available.

Global Talent Visa

From 1 January 2021, this route can be accessed by non-UK/Irish nationals who meet the eligibility criteria including EU/EEA/Swiss nationals who were not resident in the UK by 31 December 2020.

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.

Full guidance is available here.

Stage 1: Firstly 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.

Global Talent Visa

For further information and how to apply visit https://www.gov.uk/global-talent

Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES)

The Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES) enables students who complete a PhD at a UK institution to extend their visa for one year in order to gain work experience in their field, have more time to find longer-term work and switch to a work visa, or set up as an entrepreneur.

To apply under this scheme you will need to be sponsored by the University and make a new visa application before you complete your PhD. The DES visa will be granted for a period of 12 months from the expected completion date of your PhD. The visa is administered under the student permission to stay route. Current Aston University students can obtain advice from the HUB’s Visa Compliance Team.

The Home Office intends to introduce a new Graduate route in summer 2021. This will replace the Doctorate Extension Scheme.

 

Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) - ATAS requirements

From 21 May 2021 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 free of charge ATAS certificate 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.

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.

With effect from 21 May 2021 the ATAS requirement has been expanded to cover 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?
No.

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 10 working days (2 full weeks) to process a researcher ATAS application. Processing times will increase between April and September and can take 15 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

 

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).

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 race, ethnicity or 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 non-compliance.

The Right to Work leaflet clarifies the requirements to EU employees. This provides information for individuals on their rights and obligations depending on when they arrived in the UK.

Post Bexit transition period/EU settlement
The post-Brexit transition period ended on 31 December 2020.  If you are an EU/EEA citizen resident in the UK by 31 December 2020, you and your family members need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue to live, work and study in the UK beyond 30 June 2021.  If you are an EU/EEA citizen resident in the UK by 31 December 2020, the deadline for applying to the EU settlement scheme is 30 June 2021. 

During the period from 1 January 2021 until 30 June 2021 EU/EEA/Swiss nationals can continue to work, using only a passport or ID card as proof of right to work.

You can apply via the Government webpage https://www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families

For individuals who hold a BRP or either EU settlement or pre-settlement status, the individual should be asked to access the Home Office online service https://www.gov.uk/prove-right-to-work.  The individual will be given a share code which they will give to HR Recruitment to complete an additional check that they have the right to work.

Irish Nationals do not need to apply for settlement as they retain the right to work in the UK.

New Immigration System
A new points based system was introduced from 1 December 2020 which replaced Tier 2 visas with Skilled Worker visas.  Following the end of free movement for EU/EEA/Swiss nationals from 1 January 2021, the Skilled Worker visa system will apply to new arrivals of EU/EEA/Swiss nationals.  In addition to those who have always required a visa, EU citizens moving to the UK to work will need to get a visa in advance. If you are an EU/EEA national and will be arriving in the UK to take up employment at the University please contact the Recruitment Team to check that you have the appropriate right to work or to ensure that, if a visa is required, it can be obtained prior to the start date.  This does not apply to Irish Nationals who retain the right to work in the UK.

You can find more information on the https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/uk-visas-and-immigration

All potential employees are required to have a right to work check, regardless of their nationality and 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.

Prior to an agreed start date, all new employees will receive a welcome letter outlining the arrangements for their right to work check.

Visa Holders
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.

Eligibility to Work – 30 day Vignette
Once you have provided evidence of your eligibility to work, by producing the short validity (travel) vignette in your passport which you used to travel to the UK, you are able to start work with the University before collecting your Biometric Residence Permit, (BRP).  

You will receive a vignette in your passport which is usually for 30 days.  You will also receive a decision letter informing you of your full period of leave to enter and where to collect your BRP card.  You will have 10 days to collect your BRP when you first arrive in the UK.  You must present your BRP immediately to HR for a full right to work check once you have collected it.

Collecting your BRP
When you complete your visa application form, you will be given a choice of post offices from which to collect your Biometric Residency Permit (BRP).   You will be allocated a post office on the basis of the address you provide on your application.  When you receive your decision letter it will state the post office your BRP will be delivered to.   For further information on post offices in the UK, please click here.   Please do not choose Aston University as a designated address to collect your BRP card.

Further information on BRP can be found here

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.

Council Tax
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.

TV license
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.

Car costs
Road tax, MOT and car insurance are all requirements to run a car in the UK. See the DVLA website for more information.

GP Registration
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.

University Accommodation
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 work space 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:

http://www.conferenceaston.co.uk/

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.

Finance

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)

There are a number of banks in Birmingham to choose from with a range of accounts and services available. Santander have a branch in the University who are happy to help you open a bank account.

If you are starting with us at the University and you require a letter to help you open a bank account, please contact the HR Admin Team: hr_admin@aston.ac.uk.

Once the bank account is open, please complete the Payroll Completion Form and send this to HR Admin.

Salary
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. 

For Payroll enquiries please email Payroll@aston.ac.uk. Alternatively you may call our payroll team on 0121 204 4660.

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.

Tax
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. 

Staff Portal
The Aston Staff Portal is an online self-service section of the HR Utilities website.

To login, you will need to enter your network username and password.  The first time you login you will see the on-boarding 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.

For queries around using the Portal, contact the HR Systems Team hrsystems@aston.ac.uk or Ext 4004.

Staff ID Card
If you send a photo with your signed contract, and the photo meets the guidelines specified we will upload this for you automatically before your first day.  

On arrival at the University, on your start date, you can collect your ID card from Digital Services Reception. If your photo doesn’t meet the guidelines specified, or the photo is received after the signed contract has been returned, your photo will be taken at the Digital services Helpdesk, and you will receive your ID card while you wait:

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.