Right to work and visas

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A right to work check is a Home Office process to establish formally that each employee, casual worker or visitor has the right to work in the UK before they start their employment, casual assignment or visit. You must not carry out any work or start your visit, unless a member of the HR Team has checked your right to work in person.

A list of the documents which are acceptable for this purpose in the Right to Work Checklist on the Home Office website. There are a variety of acceptable documents (set out as List A and List B) and you may need to present one or a combination of documents from the list. Original documentation must be presented before you start work.  

The HR team works closely with the Staff Immigration Team. Should you require further information, please visit the SIT information page on Right to Work.


An overview of the changes to UK visas which allow the visa holder to work in the UK. These are open to individuals of all nationalities – except British and Irish.




Tier 2

Skilled Worker Route

01 December 2020

Tier 4 (Student) visa

Student Visa

05 October 2020

Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme

Graduate Scheme

1 July 2021

Global Talent, Tier 5, Visitors, Settlement, Naturalisation, Start Up, Investors and other routes currently in place will continue in 2021 – now with EEA, EU and Swiss nationals eligible to apply under them as well as the nationalities previously included.


If you have a Skilled Worker or Tier 5 visa, the University of Oxford is your sponsor, you have the following responsibilities:

  • You must inform the HR Team of any changes in address and contact details (telephone number and email), as the University has a duty as a sponsor to retain a history of your contact details. You can update your own contact details through HR Self-Service, if you prefer.
  • You must inform the HR Team if there is a change of name or personal details or any family changes (birth of a child, adoption, divorce, etc.). SIT will be able to advise if a new BRP is needed
  • You must report your absences (annual leave, illness, time off for dependants, etc.) to the HR Team and record them on Teamseer. We report any relevant changes as a result of leave to SIT. As we are bound to report to the Home Office any unauthorised absence, it is important the HR Team is informed promptly of any such absences.
  • You must notify the HR Team within three working days if you change your immigration category, for example if you obtain indefinite leave to remain in the UK, or if you move to Global Talent or any other non-sponsored category. You must also show them the original evidence of your changed status. If you get a new passport we will need to take a certified copy.
  • Register with the Police and communicate any further reportable changes without undue delay, if the conditions of your sponsorship require you do to so.
  • If you are thinking of undertaking any supplementary work, please speak with the HR Team before starting any type of work.

You must inform the HR Team of the above immediately or within 3 days of the change taking place. Failure to do so may result in penalties for us and for you, including on-the-spot fines, and/or your visa withdrawn.

The University’s Staff Immigration Team helps to guide departments and individuals through the complicated work visa regulations, and they organise briefing sessions for visa holders to inform and explain visa conditions and requirements, which are well worth attending.

For more information:

Skilled Worker Visa

Tier 5 Visa


Additional requirements when employing a Student/ Tier 4 visa holder

Most undergraduate and taught postgraduate students on Student/ Tier 4 visas are restricted to a maximum of 20 hours per week work during term-time. Any time during which students have study commitments (this includes any weeks when the student has study commitments, even if this is outside of the standard term-time) is also included in this restriction. Paid and unpaid work count towards the student's maximum permitted working hours.

Most postgraduate research students on Student/ Tier 4 visas are restricted to a maximum of 20 hours per week of work throughout the year, since research students are not considered to have terms.

In addition to a right to work check, you will need to also complete a Tier 4 Student Employment Declaration.

Further information may be found here