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Guidance notes on the payment of immigration costs

Contents

1. Introduction
2. Leave to enter costs
3. Further leave to remain costs
4. Other Immigration Costs
5. Exceptions
6. Procedure for reimbursement 
7. Repayment 


1. Introduction 

1.1 UCL will pay or reimburse the following costs associated with meeting immigration requirements for staff working, or applying to work, for UCL. All payments will be reimbursed at the standard application rate (as opposed to any higher priority service rate). Staff wishing to use a priority service will pay the additional difference.

1.2 All applications for fee reimbursement should be submitted to HR within 3 months of receipt of the visa.

1.3 Staff can apply for an immigration loan to help them with visa costs, immigration advice, or the health surcharge.

1.4 See the Home Office page for an up to date list of visa fees.

2. Leave to enter costs

Skilled Worker Route:

2.1 UCL HR Services (HRS) will pay for the Skilled Worker Route (SWR) Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) for all applicants.

2.2 Applicants normally pay their own visa costs, if they apply from outside the UK. Applicants will pay the visa costs for any of their dependents.

2.3 The employing department will pay the Immigration Skills Charge for roles that do not fall under a PhD level SoC code (or no other exemption).

Global Talent Visa:

2.4 The employing department will pay the cost of Global Talent Visa (GTV) applications, where these are linked to a specific role at UCL.

2.5 This will be subject to repayment on a sliding scale by the staff member, should they leave UCL within 3 years of payment, see section 7.

3.  Further leave to remain costs

Switching to or extension of Skilled Worker Visa:

3.1 UCL HRS will pay the costs of SWR Certificate of Sponsorship for all applicants and staff.

3.2 UCL HRS will reimburse the 3 year visa costs of valid in country applicants. Out of country applicants will normally pay their own visa costs.

3.3 Staff will pay the visa extension costs for any of their dependents.

3.4 The employing department will pay the Immigration Skills Charge for roles that do not fall under a PhD level SoC code (or any other exemption).

Switching to or extension of Global Talent Visa:

3.5 The employing department will pay the cost of a GTV visa or extension where this is linked to a specific role at UCL. This will be subject to repayment on a sliding scale by the staff member should they leave UCL within 3 years of payment, see section 7.

4. Other Immigration Costs

4.1 The costs of Indefinite Leave to Remain, British citizenship, the Health Surcharge and other costs relating to immigration for UCL staff and their dependents are not covered by UCL HRS.

5. Exceptions

5.1 Exceptionally a department may consider reimbursing the applicant’s and their dependents out of country visa, the Immigration Health Surcharge, Indefinite Leave to Remain or British citizenship.

This should only be considered if the applicant does not qualify for UCL’s Relocation Supplement.

5.2 The department should consider exceptions carefully, weighing up the equity of the decision on other staff/future applicants.

6. Procedure for reimbursement

6.1 All applications for fee reimbursement should be submitted to HRS within 3 months of receipt of the visa.

6.2 Reimbursements relating to in-country SWR or GTV visa applications will be reimbursed on the receipt of an online visa reimbursement claim being submitted to HR-services@ucl.ac.uk. Although this amount is taxable as a benefit, UCL will top up the amount of reimbursement so that the employee receives the full reimbursement.

6.3 Any in country immigration fees exceptionally reimbursed by departments will be paid through the payroll and taxed, except those at para. 6.4. Payments will not be grossed-up. These payments should be requested via HR-Services@ucl.ac.uk. In accordance with the UCL Expenses Policy, these payments must have prior approval from the Dean / PS Director, Faculty     Manager or School/Professional Services Finance Director.

6.4 Any out of country visa fees exceptionally reimbursed by departments will be paid as an expense through iExpenses (as they are not currently considered to be a benefit in kind by HMRC) if the employee:

  • is not UK domiciled and
  • has not been present in the UK for any purpose in the 2 year period prior to this arrival date; or
  • is not resident in the UK for tax purposes in either of the two UK tax years prior to their arrival date.

If these conditions are not met, the payment will be made through the payroll and taxed accordingly. In accordance with the UCL Expenses Policy, these payments must have prior approval from the Dean / PS Director, Faculty Manager or School/Professional Services Finance Director.

7. Repayment

7.1 Staff members who receive payment for a GTV application, or other discretionary entitlement, who leave within 3 years of the payment being made will be expected to     repay the costs based on the sliding scale in the table below. When making a discretionary payment, departments should provide a link to this guidance and inform the employee in writing that they will be required to repay the money as below, if they leave UCL within 36 months. 

Time since payment being made

12 months or less

12 – 24 months

24 – 36 months

Repayment amount

100%

50%

25%

 

HR Employment Policy Team

July 2022