Other work visas

There are many visa types which allow the visa holder to work in the UK, but often under different conditions and restrictions. While the Staff Immigration Team (SIT) do not provide advice and guidance on all of these visa routes, we can assist University of Oxford employees and visitors with basic queries and signpost to the relevant Home Office guidance. Please see an overview of some of these visas below.


Personnel administrators who have been provided with one of these visas when carrying out a right to work check and are unsure of the conditions and restrictions should contact SIT for advice and consult the University's guidance on right to work checks.


The Staff Immigration Team (SIT) has made every effort to ensure the information provided on this pages is correct when published, but it is provided as a brief overview only and does not constitute advice or guidance. Applicants should always check their eligibility and the requirements for the visa route they are intending to apply under.


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British nationals (overseas) from Hong Kong and their family members, can apply for a British National (Overseas) visa (BNO visa). This visa enables individuals to live, work and study in the UK. The route can lead to settlement after 5 years resident in the UK.

To be eligible applicants must 

  • be a British National (overseas)
  • be 18 or older

Have a permanent home 

  • in Hong Kong, an application is made outside of the UK 
  • in the UK, channel islands, Isle of Man, an application is made in the UK


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Diplomats, heads of state, overseas government ministers, members of some armed forces posted to the UK, and employees of international organisations such as the United Nationals, and some NGOs can be 'exempt from immigration control' and travel to the UK without a visa, if they are coming to carry out activities which form part of their role.

To avoid delays when travelling to, and entering, the UK those who are 'exempt from immigration control' can (but do not have to) apply for an 'exempt vignette' endorsement in their passport.

Those from any of these groups may require a UK visa if they are instead coming to the UK to undertake activities or employment outside their main role.

Cases involving those who fall under these categories should be discussed with the Staff Immigration Team (SIT) as early as possible so that the correct advice, and assistance if required, can be provided.


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The Graduate route opened for applications on 1 July 2021.

The visa allows international students that have completed an eligible course to stay in the UK and to work, including taking self employment and voluntary work.

The visa length granted will depend on the level of course:

  • Degree and PGCE students will be eligible for a 2 year visa length
  • DPhil students will be eligible for a 3 year visa length

Further details can be found on the student pages 

The UKCISA - international student advice and guidance -Working after studies section also provides useful information. 

A route for recent graduates of top global universities outside the UK (similar to the Graduate student route in the UK), was launched on 30 May 2022. The route is for those who want to work, or look for work in the UK, following the successful completion of an eligible course of study equivalent to UK bachelor’s degree level or above. The study must have been with an institution listed on the Global Universities List

This visa gives you permission to stay in the UK for 2 years if you have been awarded an undergraduate or Master’s degree, or 3 years if you have a PhD. To apply, you must have been awarded a qualification by an eligible university in the last 5 years.

  • The qualification must be verified by Ecctis, which currently costs £210, (£252 if applying within the UK).
  • You will need to prove your knowledge of English
  • You will also need to prove that you have enough savings to support yourself in the UK. The requirement is evidence that you have held minimum of £1,270 of funding in a bank account for at least 28 days.
  • TB test may be required, dependant on country of residence.
  • ATAS may be required if route used for study. You are only able to study with an HPI visa if your chosen course is not eligible for a student visa. ATAS is not required for research or work under this route.
  • The application cost is £822 and IHS fees of £624 per annum.

An applicant does not require a prior job offer to qualify and will be permitted to work in the UK without the need for a sponsor. Dependent partners and children can apply on this route, as set out in the Dependants guidance. High Potential Individual is not a route to settlement in the UK.

Further details can be found on the UKVI website

Family members of Global Talent, Skilled Worker, Student/ Tier 4, and Tier 5 visa holders can apply for a Dependant visa. The only restrictions on employment for Dependant visa holders is that they cannot undertake work as a sportsperson, or a sports coach. Guidance for family members applying for Dependant visas is provided alongside our guidance for Global Talent, Skilled Worker and Tier 5 applicants.

It is possible to switch out of a Dependant visa into another visa route from within the UK. It is also possible to switch from most visa routes to a Dependant visa from within the UK (but not from a Visitor, Short-term Student, Parent of a Child Student, Seasonal Worker, or Domestic Worker visa or a visa granted Outside the Immigration Rules).


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Those granted Refugee status, Discretionary Leave, or Humanitarian Protection, in the UK have unrestricted employment rights and can normally apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) after five years. A BRP may not state that the holder has been granted rights in the UK under these categories but should clearly state that work is permitted.

Those who have submitted an application for asylum would not normally be permitted to work but in some cases work is permitted. If work rights have been granted this should be clearly stated on the applicant's Asylum Registration Card (ARC). University guidance on right to work includes a 'right to work checklist' which details the extra steps required to establish right to work for those with an ARC which states work is permitted.


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The Representative of an overseas business visa route is for the sole representative of an overseas company planning to set up a UK branch or a wholly owned subsidiary for an overseas parent company or an employee of an overseas newspaper, news agency or broadcasting organisation posted on a long-term assignment to the UK.

As Home Office guidance makes clear that visa holders under this route can only work for their overseas employer, and cannot work for themselves or any other business, it is unlikely that they would be able to undertake any activities within the collegiate University unless this was on behalf of their overseas employer. Departments/ faculties/ colleges should Contact the Staff Immigration Team (SIT) in advance to discuss before permitting a visa holder under this route to undertake any activities.


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Family members of UK nationals or visa holders who have 'settled' in the UK (i.e. those who have been granted Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)) can apply under the Spouse/ partner visa route as a dependant partner or dependant child.

The only restrictions on employment for Spouse/ partner visa holders is that they cannot undertake work as a doctor or dentist in training, a professional sportsperson, or a sports coach.

Home Office guidance details the complex financial requirements when applying under the Spouse/ partner visa route.


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The Start-up visa route, which replaces the previous Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa route, is a two year visa for applicants setting up a business in the UK. Home Office guidance states that Start-up, and Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur, visa holders are permitted to undertake employment in addition to working for their business.

Guidance on the Start-up visa route and information on applying to the University of Oxford for endorsement is provided by the Careers Service.

The Innovator visa route replaces the previous Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa route, and neither of these routes permit employment as visa holders under these routes can only work for their own business.

Tier 4 student visa holders on University courses are permitted to work up to 20 hours per week in term time, and full time out of term and when they have finished their studies.

Doctoral students on or before 30 June 2021 who were close, but had not completed, could apply for a 12 month extension of their Tier 4 visa under the Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES). This scheme was closed to new applicants on 1 July 2021 when the Graduate Route opened. 

University right to work guidance details the additional requirements when carrying out a right to work check before employing or engaging a Tier 4/Student or Tier 4 DES visa holder.


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University guidance discusses the requirements for any proposed internships.

It may be possible for the University to sponsor those coming to participate in collaborative research as a 'research intern' as long as the normal Tier 5 requirements are met.

Other types of internship cannot be sponsored by the University but the Tier 5 Internship Scheme visa route may be appropriate.

An external commercial organisation (GTI Recruitment Solutions) provides sponsorship under the Tier 5 Internship Scheme visa route which is designed to allow graduates and undergraduates from countries outside Europe to gain experience working in the UK.

Eligible interns will require a Tier 5 Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) issued by GTI Recruitment Solutions before applying for a Tier 5 Internship Scheme visa. Significant costs are involved, payable by the department/college, and a number of conditions are attached, but departments and colleges might find this option useful in some circumstances.

If departments/ colleges wish to use the Tier 5 Internship Scheme, they should contact GTI Recruitment Solutions directly for advice on eligibility and the application process.


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The Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme (YMS) is for young people from participating countries who would like to experience life in the UK.

The countries currently participating in the scheme are:

Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Iceland, India, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, Republic of (South) Korea, San Marino and Taiwan.

Under the Youth Mobility Scheme, the visa holder's national government is the sponsor. Therefore the University does not need to issue Tier 5 (YMS) applicants with a CoS.

Applicants are eligible if they:

  • are a citizen of a country taking part in the scheme, or a British overseas citizen, British overseas territories citizen or British national (overseas);
  • are between 18 and 30 (35 for New Zealand nationals) years old when they apply;
  • have £2,530 in available maintenance (funds) when they apply.

Applicants must complete the visa application form on the Home Office website. A successful applicant will be free to do whatever work they like during their stay in the UK, except for working as a professional sportsperson (including as a sports coach) or working as a doctor in training. 

Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme visa holders can be self-employed and set up companies, subject to certain restrictions as detailed in the Home Office website.

Applications for the Youth Mobility Scheme are ineligible if the applicant is already in the UK, or if they have already spent time in the UK as a Working Holiday Maker or under the Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme. Visa holders coming to the UK under the Youth Mobility Scheme may stay and work for a maximum of 2 years (3 years for New Zealand nationals). Visa holders will not be permitted to extend their stay in the UK beyond 2 (or 3) years, but they may be able to apply to switch to another visa route from within the UK if they meet the relevant requirements for that route.


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Citizens of Commonwealth countries who can prove that one of their grandparents were born in the UK, and are able and are planning to work in the UK, can apply for a UK Ancestry visa.

Initial applications for UK Ancestry visas can only be submitted from outside the UK, but extension applications and applications from dependant family members can be submitted in the UK.


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Contact us

Medical Sciences / Humanities / GLAM / UAS / Continuing Education

Angelina Pelova, Email: angelina.pelova@admin.ox.ac.uk 

Paul Deeble, Email: paul.deeble@tss.ox.ac.uk


MPLS / Social Sciences / Colleges

Lyn Davis, Email: lyn.davis@admin.ox.ac.uk

Richard Birt, Email: richard.birt@admin.ox.ac.uk




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