News

25-06-19 Latest News

UPDATE to eGate expansion - changes to how some non-visa national visitors can enter the UK - 10/06/19

Permitted Paid Engagement (PPE) visitors must not enter via an eGate

As detailed before, all PPE visitors must enter the UK via a staffed immigration desk to receive the correct stamp in their passport. 

Failure to obtain this stamp will prevent the individual from undertaking the planned activities, and result in them having to leave the UK and re-enter via an immigration officer to obtain the correct stamp prior to undertaking the activities. If activities requiring a PPE visitor visa are undertaken without the correct stamp this will be considered by the Home Office to be illegal working.

The Home Office has provided an optional, visual aid which individuals visiting under the PPE route can present to immigration staff upon arrival to the UK. This can be printed or shown on a mobile device. It is not mandatory to have this document, but it may be helpful for non-visa nationals to reinforce to immigration staff that they do need  the correct entry stamp in their passport.

The PPE Visitor template letter of invitation (111kb) now includes this visual aid.

Tier 2 and 5 new starters:

The Home Office has confirmed that nationals of Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the United States of America entering the UK for the first time on their 30 day vignette can use eGates.

Impact on the Tier 2 & 5 Arrival Process

If a new starter does not receive the entry stamp on their 30 day vignette the Home Office requires us to retain additional documentation to confirm their arrival date to the UK. Evidence such as a scanned copy of the travel ticket to the UK or boarding card should therefore be sent to SIT with the Tier 2 & Tier 5 Arrival form (119kb) and other supporting documents. 

10/06/19 Latest News

eGate expansion - changes to how some non-visa national visitors can enter the UK

From the 20 May the Home Office expanded the use of eGates at 15 major airports and Eurostar terminals to nationals from seven countries. eGates have previously only be available to UK, EU, EEA nationals and those who have paid for the Registered Traveller Scheme.

This means that Business and Academic visitors coming for less than 6 months, from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the United States of America can use the automated eGates on arrival into the UK, free of charge.  They will no longer complete a landing card, or receive an entry stamp in their passport from an immigration officer.

Nationals from these seven countries, however must not use the eGates in the following situations. Instead they must attend a staffed immigration desk to receive the correct stamp in their passport;

  • Visiting under the Permitted Paid Engagement (PPE) route. These visitors require a specific one month grant of leave, which has to be given by an immigration officer in the form of a stamp. Without this stamp the visitor will be unable to evidence they can undertake the permitted paid activity.
  • Short Term Students coming for up to 6 months
  • Visitors travelling with children under the age of 12
  • Visitors who do not hold a passport with a biometric chip

Departments, faculty and colleges should continue to issue the appropriate invitation letter ahead of the individuals visit and undertake an immigration status check upon their arrival to Oxford. For these nationals this will result in holding a copy of their passport details page only, as there will be no stamp, and a copy of the invitation letter on file for the duration of their visit.

The Business, Academic and Permitted Paid Engagement visitor template letters and ‘Overseas visitor communication leaflet' have been updated to reflect the eGate expansion. Please ensure you use these templates for any future visitors.

This does not change the requirements for visa nationals, who will still continue to need to apply for and obtain the visa before travelling.  A list of visa national countries can be found in Appendix 2.

Additionally non-visa nationals who are not from one of the seven countries, will still have to attend a staffed immigration desk to receive an entry stamp in their passport.

We are currently working on the visitor pages of our website, which will be updated in due course.

Tier 1, 2 and 5 new starters: Individuals entering the UK for the first time on their 30 day vignette, should at present not use eGates.  This ensures they receive an arrival stamp from an immigration officer to ‘activate’ their visa status. We are currently working with the Home Office to seek urgent clarification on this and we will provide more information when the situation becomes clearer.

30/03/19 Latest News

UPDATE to Staff Immigration and Right to Work News Bulletin – March 2019

Further to our latest Staff Immigration & Right to Work News Bulletin (below), in response to lobbying from the Russell Group, the Universities & Colleges Employers Association (UCEA), and Universities UK (UUK), the Home Office has now confirmed that ASHE data was incorrectly applied to the SOC codes relevant to HEIs and that the thresholds for these codes should have been set based on HE data, as they had been previously.

The Home Office have confirmed that these new thresholds listed in Appendix J of the Immigration Rules will be corrected as soon as possible, but in the interim have published an Addendum to the Tier 2 Policy guidance confirming the correct salary thresholds for the SOC codes in question. The corrected rates are in line with the cost of living increases to the thresholds for other SOC codes and will apply to CoS issued after 30 March 2019.

The corrected salary thresholds relevant within the collegiate University are:

  (based on 40hrs/week) (37.5hrs/week equivalent) 
     SOC code 2119 (used for Research roles):
‘New Entrant’   up from £21,600 p.a. to £22,300 p.a.  £20,906.25 p.a.
‘Experienced Worker’  up from £28,000 p.a. to £29,000 p.a.  £27,187.50 p.a.
    SOC code 2311 (used for Lecturer roles):
‘New Entrant’  up from £25,700 p.a. to £26,500 p.a.  £24,843.75 p.a.
‘Experienced Worker’  up from £32,300 p.a. to £33,000 p.a.  £30.937.50 p.a.

 As the corrected new Research salary thresholds are now all below the £30,000 p.a. Tier 2 minimum salary threshold, and the Lecturer salary thresholds have only increased slightly, we do not envisage that these changes should adversely affect roles within the collegiate University. If you still have concerns or wish to discuss a current or upcoming recruitment, however, please contact SIT.

25/03/19 Latest News

Staff Immigration and Right to Work News Bulletin – March 2019

We have issued Staff Immigration Team (SIT) news bulletin SIT news bulletin 25 March 2019 (615kb) which contains news of important changes and some reminders.

The bulletin includes: 

  • Confirmation that the full EU Settlement Scheme for Europeans, and their family members, resident in the UK before Brexit will open on 30 March 2019;
  • News of increases in Tier 2 job specific salary thresholds which will affect some Tier 2 CoS issued from 30 March 2019;
  • News that Home Office visa application fees have not increased this year but the in-country 'Super Priority' service fee will increase from £610 to £800 (per applicant) on 29 March 2019;
  • An update on Home Office changes to the in-country visa application process and application centres;
  • News of two other (more positive) planned changes to the Tier 2 rules later in 2019;
  • Notice that SIT has updated the Tier 4 Student Employment Declaration;
  • Information on the new online Right to work checking service.

Places are available on upcoming immigration and right to work training sessions. Please see www.admin.ox.ac.uk/personnel/permits/sittrain/ for available dates and the booking form.

08/01/19 Latest News

Immigration Health (NHS) Surcharge has increased to £400 per year from 8 January 2019

The Immigration Health (NHS) surcharge increase (from £200 to £400 per year) takes effect from today, 8 January 2019. This will not be applied retrospectively to those who have applied for their visa before 8 January 2019, however, it will apply when they go to extend their visa, or apply under another category.

We have updated our website and forms to reflect the new NHS surcharge.