Immigration Categories

The UK operates a Points Based Immigration System.

There are two categories for employees, Tier 1 and Tier 2;

  • Tier 1 category visa are obtained by the individual and are not linked to any specific job.
  • Tier 2 category visa is linked to specific job. It involves a two stage process. The first stage is for the University to obtain a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS). The individual will then need to apply for a visa.

Tier 1 (Exceptional talent)

This is a visa that the individual would obtain of their own volition. It is for exceptionally talented individuals in the fields of science, humanities, engineering and the arts, who wish to work in the UK. These individuals are those who are already internationally recognised at the highest level as world leaders in their particular field, or who have already demonstrated exceptional promise and are likely to become world leaders in their particular area. Please see Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) and speak to the International Employment Officer for more information.

Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur)

This visa is for graduates who have been officially endorsed by their University as having a geniune and credible business idea.  Please see Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur)

Tier 2 (General)  

This visa gives an individual the right to work solely at the University and in the post to which they are appointed. There are two types; restricted and unrestricted.

There is no annual limit set against this category. The University of Exeter has been allocated a number of CoS on an annual basis and these will be issued by the Human Resources Business Partner, subject to meeting the criteria set out above.
Unrestricted category includes:

  • Tier 2 migrants extending their stay with their original employer
  • Tier 2 migrants with valid leave switching employer
  • Those already admitted in another category and switching to Tier 2
  • Those filling a vacancy on salary of £155,300+

This is for all out of country/new applications. Each request must be approved by the UKBA before a CoS is issued by the University of Exeter. There are national limits set for restricted CoS.

Certificate of Sponsorship
Following successful completion of the recruitment requirements and supply of relevant documents for this category, the University will issue a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to the individual.      

The individual must then obtain a visa against the CoS.  An individual in this category cannot start work until a CoS is issued and they have an appropriate visa. Please note that the College/Service pays for the CoS, currently £199. The individual pays for their visa but may be reimbursed from their relocation allowance, if applicable (this applies to new starters only).

Tier 4 (General) Students

From 6 April 2012 there is provision under Tier 2 (General) for graduates who would have previously been eligible under Tier 1 (post study worker). It will be open for recent graduates with a Bachelors, Masters, PhD, PGCE or PGDE.

Applicants will need to have an offer of a skilled job from us and be paid at least the minimum appropriate rate set out in the relevant Code of Practice. However, we will not have to complete a UKVI resident labour market test and the jobs will not be subject to the annual limit on Tier 2 numbers (i.e. the Certificates of Sponsorship will be in the Unrestricted category). However, we would want to keep the normal University standards with regards to recruitment.

Students that are in the UK (Tier 4) may be able to switch into Tier 2, as described above, once they have been awarded their qualification, except for PhD students who, as now, must have completed at least 12 months of study.

They may be able to start work as a student with us if their Tier 4 leave is still valid, it allows them to work and there are no issues with the relevant funding body. We should, however, not offer a permanent contract until the Tier 2 application is approved.

Further information

UKVI information on Tier 1 (Exceptional talent)

UKVI information on Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur)

UKVI information on Tier 2 (General)

UKVI information on Tier 4 (General) Students