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. Out of the country Visa Costs to enter the UK
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 reimburse the cost of Global Talent Visa (GTV) applications, where these are linked to a specific role at UCL.
3. In country Visa Costs to remain in the UK
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 reimburse 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
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 may only be considered if the applicant does not qualify for UCL’s Relocation Supplement.
5.2 Exceptionally, a department may consider reimbursing an employee's dependents' in country visa; and/or the applicant's and their dependents' Immigration Health Surcharge, Indefinite Leave to Remain or British citizenship.
This may only be considered if the employee has not been in receipt of UCL's Relocation Supplement within the previous two years.
5.3 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 within 3 months of receipt of the visa.
6.2 Reimbursement of the in-country SWR visa application will be reimbursed on the receipt of an online visa reimbursement claim being submitted. 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 Reimbursements relating to in-country Global Talent Visa will be reimbursed by the department on the receipt of a completed Visa expenses form being submitted to HR_services@ucl.ac.uk along with the supporting receipt. An in-country reimbursement will be paid through the payroll and taxed.
6.4 Any other in country immigration fees exceptionally reimbursed by departments will be paid through the payroll and taxed. 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.
6.5 Any out of country Global Talent visa or other out of country fees exceptionally reimbursed by departments will be paid once the employee has joined UCL 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.
7.1 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
For queries on this guidance please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
HR Division: Employment Policy Team