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Durham University

Human Resources & Organisational Development

Purpose of Policy

This policy outlines the role of Human Resources, responsibilities and guidance for staff, visitors and departments regarding immigration and eligibility to work.

Scope of Policy and Guidance

Human Resources will ensure the guidance provided on the Durham University Immigration & Eligibility to Work online pages are updated but you are strongly advised to check the Home Office (UKVI) website for updates.

The University can provide guidance but is not legally allowed to give immigration advice to members of staff.

Durham University has a license which allows us to be recognised as an ‘A’ Rated / Highly Trusted Sponsor, meaning we are able to sponsor migrants to work for us under Tiers 2 and 5.

It is vital that Durham University ensures full compliance with Home Office regulations, as our license can be withdrawn. This would mean that we are no longer able to appoint staff or bring students from outside the EEA to the University.

In order to comply with Home Office regulations the University must establish which of their prospective staff/workers have an automatic right to work in the UK and ensure that we properly sponsor those who do not. This is done via the eligibility to work checks and ensuring specific data is recorded and maintained for non-EEA staff.

We are also required to ensure that data is correctly recorded and kept up to date for students. The Student Immigration and Financial Support Office (SIO) is responsible for maintaining student eligibility records.

As a “Highly Trusted Sponsor” the University is regularly audited by the Home Office from both a staff and student perspective, who will check that all of our records are correct and information has been recorded properly.

1.1 Role of Human Resources

  • To ensure the guidance provided on the Durham University Immigration & Eligibility to Work online pages are updated in line with the Home Office (UKVI) website
  • To offer University staff guidance on the process but we are not legally allowed to give immigration advice to members of staff.
  • To ensure that all new starters (paid and unpaid) are eligible to work in the UK.
  • To ensure copies of original documents are to be stored on their personal files as inputting onto the HR system cannot commence until the documentation is obtained. The full list of information we are required to record for Home Office compliance HR will store this information on the successful non-EEA staff member’s personal file
  • To carry out the enhanced eligibility checks for non-EEA staff before they start work.
  • To ensure sponsored staff receive 3 months notification to attend a re-check every 12 months and prior to the expiry of their visa.
  • To ensure positions are advertised in order to comply with the relevant Tier requirements
  • To ensure any changes in terms and conditions of employment for sponsored staff are updated via the Home Office SMS system
  • To update the HR system on any change in personal circumstances as advised by the staff member. Where a change in circumstance may affect their visa a discussion will take place between the individual and HR and the Home Office SMS system updated as required.
  • To report the following within 10 working days:

If the sponsored employee does not turn up for their first day of work.

If the sponsored employees contract is terminated earlier than indicated on the CoS

If we stop sponsoring the employee

If there are significant changes in circumstances

Promotion/change in job title / core duties

Change of salary other than annual increments

Change in salary due to maternity, paternity or long term sick leave of one month or more

The location the migrant is employed at changes, or if the duration of their contract of/for employment/services is shortened.

1.2 Role of The Student Immigration and Financial Support Office (SIO)

  • To act as a collection point for Biometric Residence Permits (BRP)
  • To maintain student eligibility records.
  • To provide support for University staff who employ students (Student Recruiters) providing them with the appropriate confirmation codes to ensure that visa holding students do not work in excess of the hours permitted on their visa. In addition, the SIO will be able to provide advice to students about their entitlement to work in addition to any other visa issues.

    Information about the employment of students, and an online web form to request a student employment authorisation code, can be found at:

Contact us

Human Resources
Rowan House
Mountjoy Centre
Stockton Road
0191 334 6514