Staff Immigration

Tier 2 and Tier 5 sponsored individuals

The University of Kent is pleased to sponsor you. Together we need to ensure we both comply with any rules and conditions associated with sponsorship under Tier 2 and Tier 5 of the UK’s Points-Based System of immigration.

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Why it's important to comply

It is important that both you and the University comply with any conditions associated with Tier 2 and Tier 5 sponsorship. Failure to comply could result in you having your visa cancelled and/or being denied entry to the UK for several years. Consequences to the University include penalties or having our sponsor license removed.

Record keeping

As your sponsor the University is required to keep certain records. This includes copies of your passport and immigration documents, qualifications and national insurance details.

In addition we must keep a record of your up to date contact details and absences (including sickness absence, holiday, and maternity leave).

Monitoring and reporting duties

A key responsibility for the University is to track and monitor colleagues sponsored under Tier 2 and Tier 5. We are required to report, within 10 working days:

  • If you fail to start work when you were expected to
  • If you have 10 days of consecutive unauthorised absence
  • If we cease to sponsor you
  • If you move into another immigration category.

The University is also required to make a report to the UKVI if we have any suspicions and evidence that you are breaking the conditions of your stay in the UK.

For further infromation regarding our reporting requirements and permitted changes during employment, please see the 'Notifcation of Changes' procedure.

Report changes of your immigration status

If you switch from a Tier 2 or Tier 5 visa, your personal circumstances change, you have acquired Indefinite Leave to Remain or a new immigration status you must inform the HR Immigration Adviser within 5 working days.

Keep your contact details up to date

It is your responsibility to ensure that you provide the University with up to date contact details including:

  • Your full UK address
  • Your full home address
  • Your email address and phone number
  • Any changes to your name

You must immediately report any changes to the University through the HR Immigration Adviser.  In addition, you are required to notify the UKVI of any changes to your personal contact details. You can do this online at

Absence monitoring

As a sponsor, the Home Office requires the University to report certain changes in individuals’ circumstances and hold records of absences from work. It is essential that HR, Schools and sponsored individuals work together to fulfill these requirements.

Keeping up to date absence records is a UK government requirement for Tier 2/5 visa holders, and failure to keep these records could result in potentially severe consequences for both the University (in being able to continue to sponsor visa holders) and to the individual (in being able to retain their visa status).

We have a responsibility to record absences for sponsored individuals (on a Tier 2 or Tier 5 visa) and to inform the Home Office if a sponsored migrant does not attend on the first day, or when a sponsored migrant has had 10 consecutive days of unauthorised absence. Sponsored staff/visitors must report all absences (i.e. annual leave, sickness, paternity, maternity, adoption leave) to their School.

Failure to attend on the first day

If a sponsored individual does not attend work on the first day stated on their Certificate of Sponsorship, this must be reported to the HR Immigration Adviser immediately.

Unauthorised absence

  • An unauthorised absence would occur when a sponsored individual fails to attend when attendance is expected and they have not communicated their absence to their School. For example: a failure to deliver a timetabled lecture or tutorial, an unexplained absence from a conference or a committee meeting, an unexplained absence from work when attendance would normally be expected.
  • If an unauthorised absence appears to have occurred, the School should contact the individual immediately to ascertain whether the absence is in fact due to normal work activity, illness or holiday. If an unauthorised absence of 10 consecutive working days or more occurs this should be reported to the HR Immigration Adviser within 5 working days of 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 the HR Immigration Adviser.

Contact details

Contact details for sponsored individuals must be kept up to date and sponsored individuals must be contactable within a reasonable period of time by email or phone.

Normal work related travel

Normal work related travel, such as attending UK conferences, working from home or work meetings within the UK, does not need to be recorded or reported. If  a sponsored individual is planning a trip where they will be unreachable by phone or e-mail they must inform the School. 

Normal absence reporting (i.e. sickness, annual leave, maternity/paternity leave)

Sponsored individuals should follow the normal University absence reporting procedures for sickness absence and annual leave. Records of absence must be readily available in personal files for audit purposes.

If a Tier 2 sponsored staff member’s salary changes as a result of taking Maternity, Paternity, Shared Parental, Adoption, or Sickness Absence leave (i.e. a drop to Statutory Maternity Pay, reduced pay whilst on sick leave, or a period of unpaid leave) this must be reported to the HR Immigration Adviser within 5 days of the date of the change.

Unpaid leave

Tier 2 sponsored staff may not take unpaid leave amounting to more than four weeks in total, according to the visa holder's normal working pattern, in a calendar year (January to December) except in the case of Maternity, Paternity, Shared Parental, Adoption, or Sick leave – please contact the HR Immigration Adviser at once if unpaid leave is being considered.

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) applications

If an individual wishes to apply for ILR, the University will be required to endorse the application and confirm all absences from the UK during the five year qualifying period. Individuals should therefore ensure that all travel outside the UK both for private and work reasons is reported to

Sabbatical leave

If a sponsored individual plans to take a period of paid sabbatical leave, they should contact the HR Immigration Adviser for advice prior to any arrangements being made.

Supplementary and secondary employment

Supplementary Employment

When sponsored under Tier 2 and Tier 5 you are permitted to undertake other work which is supplementary to that for which your Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) was assigned.

Permissible supplementary employment must:

  • Be in the same profession and at the same professional level as the work for which the migrant’s CoS was assigned; or
  • Be a job which is on the list of shortage occupations and
  • Be no more than 20 hours a week; and
  • Be outside of normal working hours for which the migrant’s CoS was assigned.

You do not need to advise UKVI of any supplementary employment undertaken, as long as it meets the above stated criteria.

You should advise your new employer that the employment is supplementary.

Secondary Employment

As an individual sponsored under Tier 2, once you have used your CoS to gain leave to enter or remain in the UK and you have started work you are permitted to take other employment which does not meet the supplementary employment criteria.

Any secondary employment must be with a licensed sponsor and you must be able to meet the criteria relevant to the category in which their secondary employment falls.  The secondary employer must then assign a new CoS so that you can submit a fresh application to vary your existing leave.


Visa expiry and extensions

As your sponsor, we will monitor your visa expiry date to ensure extension applications are made ‘in time’.  Applications must be made ‘in time’(before the expiry of your current leave to remain) and documentary evidence is required as proof of your application.  This will enable you to continue working on your current leave to remain conditions whilst your visa application is processed by the UKVI.

Substantive employees

If you hold an ongoing contract but your visa was issued for three years in the first instance (five year visas were not issued until May 2014) we will automatically apply for a Certificate of Sponsorship extending your leave for a further two years.  Tier 2 visa holders are encouraged, after five years, to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain.  Tier 2 visas cannot be extended beyond six years.

Approximately three months before the expiry of your current leave to remain the HR Immigration Adviser will contact you to commence the extension application process. 

Fixed Term employees

If you hold a fixed term contract, your visa may only be extended in line with your current contract.  A contract extension must be approved and accepted before a Certificate of Sponsorship extending your leave can be issued.


Settlement / Indefinite Leave to Remain

After you have lived legally in the UK for a certain length of time you may be eligible to apply for permission to settle. This is known as Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). If you are considering applying for settlement in the future, Immigration Rules are subject to change. You must meet the requirements of the Immigration Rules at the time you make your application


In order to qualify for indefinite leave to remain you must meet the two parts of the Knowledge of Language and Life (KOLL) requirement by:

  • Passing the Life in the UK test.

And one of the following language qualifications:

  • Having a speaking and listening qualification in English at B1 level or above of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR),or
  • Having a degree that was taught or researched in English, or being a national of an English-speaking country.

The qualification must be deemed by UK National Academic Recognition Information Centre (NARIC) to meet the recognised standard of a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree or PhD in the UK. Obtaining clarification of your qualification from NARIC may take some time, so please factor this in to your application timelines.

Guidance regarding the KOLL requirement can be found on the UKVI website

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When to apply

You and any dependants applying with you should apply before the end of your/their permitted stay in the UK. There is a qualifying period to complete in most of the categories. It runs either from:

  • The date on which you entered the UK with a visa in the relevant category; or, if you did not enter the UK with such a visa, from
  • The date on which you were first granted permission to remain in the UK in the relevant category.

If you entered the UK with a visa several weeks or more after the date from which it was valid for use, you may need to apply for an extension of stay to complete the relevant qualifying period.

You must not apply more than 28 days before completing the qualifying period. If you apply earlier your application may be refused and a refund of the fee will not be made. You will have to pay again when reapplying.

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Immigration - © University of Kent

The Registry, The University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NZ, T: +44 (0)1227 824998

Last Updated: 14/12/2021

Banner Image: Anne Worner