Changes in Tier 5 activities

As Tier 5 sponsorship is based on the specific research project the visa holder is undertaking, any changes in the purpose of their visit must be reported to the Home Office by the Staff Immigration Team (SIT).

The host department/faculty/college should discuss any proposed changes to a Tier 5 visa holder's research visit with SIT to check that they are permitted. If the changes are permitted under the current Tier 5 visa, the host department/faculty/college must submit a Changes & Leavers form to SIT with the relevant details, as well as a copy of an amended project plan or funding letter (if applicable) so that they can report the changes to the Home Office.

 

Changes must be reported to SIT within 5 working days

The host department/faculty/college must submit a Changes & Leavers form to the Staff Immigration Team (SIT) within 5 working days after the changes take effect. This allows time to clarify any issues and for SIT to then report the changes to the Home Office within the deadline 10 working days after the changes take effect.

 

 

The Changes & Leavers form is laid out in sections corresponding to the different changes which must be reported, which are:

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Change in start date

If a change in start date is proposed after a Tier 5 Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) has been issued (but before the Tier 5 visa application has been submitted), this should be discussed with the Staff Immigration Team (SIT). If the change in start date is unavoidable, SIT can add a 'sponsor note' to the Tier 5 CoS listing the amended start date, and re-issue the CoS details to the applicant before they submit the visa application.

Late arrival

If it becomes clear that a Tier 5 applicant's arrival will be delayed, whether due to delays in their visa application, travel, or personal circumstances, this should be urgently discussed with SIT. If the Tier 5 visa application has already been submitted, it will not be possible to amend the start date on the Tier 5 CoS, and a late start will have to be reported to the Home Office.

Please see SIT guidance on Arriving in the UK for more information.

Tier 5 sponsorship is specific to the research being undertaken. As a result, changes to any of the details below must be reported to the Home Office through SIT.

The host department/faculty/college must submit a Changes & Leavers form to SIT reporting any changes in the details below within 5 working days after they take effect, although these types of changes should normally also have been discussed in advance.

  • Job title

This could be as a result of a change in funding or visiting title, for example.

  • Duties (research activities)

Proposed changes in duties (research activities) should always be discussed with SIT as early as possible. SIT will review the proposed changes and the amended or new project plan to check that the nature of the visit has not changed. If a Tier 5 visa holder wishes to undertake teaching, this will have to be reported to SIT, who must report this to the Home Office as additional activities before any teaching can commence.

  • Funding and/or allowances

One-off payments and reimbursement of expenses do not need to be reported. However, any changes in overseas salary, funding, or allowances must be reported.

Decreases in funding are only permitted if the proposed new funding still meets the Tier 5 threshold. Reductions in funding below the threshold are, however, permitted where this is due to maternity, paternity, shared parental, adoption, or sick leave (see below);

  • Hours of work

Any proposed change in a Tier 5 visa holder's hours should be discussed with SIT and will have to be reported if they take effect.

As any reduction in hours could be accompanied by a reduction in funding, this should be discussed with SIT as early as possible, so that they can check that any new funding arrangement still meet the Tier 5 threshold.

  • Work location

Any change in regular work location, or additional regular work locations, in the UK must be reported to the Home Office. One-off or occasional short periods of research in, or site visits to, other locations do not need to be reported.

Work locations outside the UK do not need to be reported, but if a Tier 5 researcher is working mainly outside the UK, it may need to be discussed whether they need to retain their Tier 5 sponsorship and visa.

Unauthorised absence

If a Tier 5 visa holder were to take an unauthorised absence of 10 consecutive working days or more, this would have to be reported to the Home Office and would result in their Tier 5 visa being cancelled by the Home Office. SIT guidance on the end of sponsorship explains what happens when a Tier 5 visa is curtailed or cancelled.

An unauthorised absence would occur when a sponsored visa holder fails to attend when attendance is expected and they have not communicated their absence to their department or college. Examples could include a failure to attend a timetabled lecture or tutorial, or an unexplained absence from a conference or meeting.

If an unauthorised absence appears to have occurred, the host department/faculty/college should contact the visa holder immediately to check whether the absence is actually due to normal activities, illness, or holiday. If an unauthorised absence of 10 consecutive working days or more occurs, the department/faculty/college must submit a Changes & Leavers form to the Staff Immigration Team (SIT) to report this within 5 working days after the tenth day of absence.

If an unauthorised absence of 10 consecutive days occurs but normal working is subsequently resumed, this must still be reported to SIT using the Changes & Leavers form.

Authorised unfunded leave

All authorised unfunded leave must be reported to SIT who in turn must report this to the Home Office. The host department/faculty/college must submit a Changes & Leavers form to SIT to report any unpaid leave within 5 working days after it takes effect, but preferably earlier.

Tier 5 visa holders can only take up to 4 weeks authorised unfunded leave in any calendar year (January to December), whether in a single or over multiple periods. If authorised unpaid leave of 4 weeks or more is taken, the Tier 5 visa is cancelled by the Home Office.

SIT guidance on the end of sponsorship explains what happens when a Tier 5 visa is curtailed or cancelled.

 

Unfunded leave should be a last resort

As the limit on authorised unfunded leave is very strict, it is best not to take any unfunded breaks from the research. Any proposed unfunded leave should always be discussed with SIT in advance.

 

Changes in funding due to leave

Reductions in funding below the Tier 5 thresholds and unfunded leave of longer than 4 weeks are only permitted in cases of:

  • Maternity leave;
  • Paternity leave;
  • Shared-parental leave;
  • Adoption leave;
  • Sick leave.

In these cases, the proposed reduction in funding, and any unfunded leave should be discussed with SIT in advance as they must be reported to the Home Office. The host department/faculty/college must submit a Changes & Leavers form to SIT to report the changes within 5 working days after they take effect. If plans subsequently change, a new Changes & Leavers form should be submitted to SIT to report the new details, so that an updated report can be submitted to the Home Office.

Any periods of leave and/or unfunded periods will also need to be discussed with the Tier 5 visa holder's funding organisation and host department/faculty/college, to ensure they agree and are happy for the research visit to continue.

As well as changes during sponsorship, changes around the end of sponsorship must also be reported to the Home Office. The host department/faculty/college must submit a Changes & Leavers form to SIT to report any of the following changes within 5 working days after they take effect.

Changes in immigration status

If a Tier 5 visa holder changes immigration status and no longer requires Tier 5 sponsorship, this must be reported to the Home Office, even though the Home Office in many cases will have granted this new immigration status. Examples of a change in immigration status include where a Tier 5 visa holder has applied for and obtained:

  • a different UK visa (such as a Tier 1 Exceptional Talent or PBS Dependant visa);
  • Pre-Settled or Settled status as the family member of a European national;
  • Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) under the 10 year 'Long residence' route;
  • British (or European) citizenship.

The host department/faculty/college must submit a Changes & Leavers form to SIT within 5 working days after they are made aware of the new immigration status, reporting the change in immigration status and providing a right to work copy of the new visa, ILR, or passport.

Left Early

If a Tier 5 visa holder finishes their research early, or their visit is otherwise cut short, a Changes & Leavers form must be submitted to SIT by the host department/faculty/college within 5 working days after the last day of the visit, so that their early departure can be reported to the Home Office.

SIT guidance on the end of sponsorship explains what happens when a Tier 5 visa is curtailed or cancelled.

Left as expected

When a Tier 5 visa holder leaves at the end of their visit as expected, this still needs to be reported to SIT by the host department/faculty/college in a Changes & Leavers form, so that their SIT file can be updated and closed.

Contact us


Medical Sciences / Humanities / GLAM / UAS / Continuing Education / Colleges

Angelina Pelova Tel: 01865 289904 Email: angelina.pelova@admin.ox.ac.uk 

 

MPLS / Social Sciences

Rose Boadu Tel: 01865 289921 Email: rosemond.boadu@admin.ox.ac.uk

 

 

 

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