International Working

Key considerations

Supporting you to work internationally, both short term and on a permanent basis, is an important part of our Internationalisation Strategy and our aim to be a globally leading university that connects knowledge and cultures across national borders. To better support you and colleagues travelling abroad on University please consider the guidance and support on these webpages.

There are a number of factors to consider when working abroad and we ask that you investigate these considerations prior to the individual commencing work abroad.International

  • Implications for payment of salary, expenses, tax, social security and pension.
  • Potential amendments to the contract of employment.
  • Potential visa requirements.
  • Suitable Travel/Health Insurance.
  • Responsibilities of the Individual and Managers during the engagement.

If you will be travelling abroad for work purposes please look at the guidance on the 'Exisiting Staff' tab.

If you are planning a new engagement and the individual will be required to work abroad either wholly or for a period of time please look at the guidance on the 'New Engagements' tab.

If you have any queries please contact your Faculty HR Team in the first instance.

Existing staff

June 2021 update

We are aware that during the pandemic a number of staff have chosen to work from a non-UK location for personal reasons.

You will be aware from the UEB HoDs meeting on 11 June 2021 (and the update sent afterwards) that for a range of contractual, HMRC and local taxation/social security implications for both the University and the individual, it has been agreed by UEB that going forward staff will not be permitted to work outside the UK, unless requested to do so by the University.

In HR we have been working closely with HoDs, DMs and PS Directors to understand which staff have been working overseas. If you have staff who are currently working overseas we will be in contact in the near future to discuss the approach for contacting affected colleagues to start the conversation about a return to the UK. Please also let us know of any arrangements that we are not currently aware of, so that this can be followed up.

The expectation is that all members of staff (with the exception of those for whom continuing overseas working arrangements have been approved) will be back in the UK and have completed any quarantine requirements by the start of intro week on 20 September 2021 (if an earlier date of return is needed then please discuss this with us). A letter will be sent to each member of staff confirming this requirement, once the conversation about returning to work in the UK has taken place.

Under normal circumstances, no costs incurred by the member of staff (e.g.the requirement for a negative Covid test or a requirement to quarantine) will be paid by the University, unless the travel was initially undertaken for a business-related reason. If staff are required to quarantine on re-entry to the UK, the University expects that they will continue to work remotely during this period in order to satisfy the requirements of their role.

Short term assignments

Short term assignments are for less than one month in duration and upon completion you will return to the University in Sheffield.

Short term assignments may include attendance at conferences or international travel linked to a period of study leave.

Please consider the guidance in the further information section below to ensure you are prepared for your trip. Please be aware that you are required to complete the following before you travel:

  • Ensure your Department is aware of your travel plans.
  • Arrange Insurance through the University.
  • Complete a Risk Assessment.

Longer term assignments

If you are planning on working abroad for a period longer than 1 month please provide details of the assigment by completing the online International Working form.

All assignments over one month in duration need confirmation in writing from Human Resources and the information you provide will allow us to do this and also to consider your specific situation and ensure that the correct guidance and support is provided. For example there may be:

  • Implications for payment of salary, expenses, tax, social security and pension.
  • Potential amendments to your contract of employment.
  • Implications regarding finance for grant funding.
  • Potential visa requirements.

Please complete the International Working Form as soon as possible in advance of your trip. You will then be contacted by our International Coordinator to discuss your specific situation.

Please also consider the guidance in the further information section below to ensure you are prepared for your trip. Please be aware that you are required to complete the following before you travel:

  • Ensure your Department is aware of your travel plans.
  • Arrange Insurance through the University.
  • Complete a Risk Assessment.
New engagements

June 2021 Update

Future requests for colleagues to work outside of the UK for a period of 4 or more weeks should be agreed in advance by the HoD/PS Director, involving their HR Team at the earliest opportunity and before any final decision is made. This is in line with the hybrid working principles agreed by UEB that no one will be based outside the UK for work purposes, unless at the request of the University. The HR Team will ensure that the Tax and Health and Safety team are made aware of such arrangements so that they can also consider any necessary actions.

If overseas working is agreed for a particular role, the cost of formalising such an arrangement should be borne by the relevant department, once approval has been sought from the FVP and Head of Faculty, or PS Director.

When engaging an individual to undertake work for the University you must determine the appropriate employment contract to use based on the individuals employment status; employee or casual worker or self-employed.

The Contractual relationships toolkit is applicable whether the person being engaged will be based in the UK or overseas while working for the University.

Recruitment of an employee

If you plan on recruiting to a role that will be wholly based abroad or will be required to spend significant time, anything over 1 month, abroad this should be considered as part of the recruitment process.

We recommend that you speak with your Faculty HR Team and where appropriate Research and Innovation Services as the location of the role and the duration of the visit will likely impact on the recruitment strategy, process and may carry additional administrative costs.

Some factors that need to be considered are:

  • Implications for payment of salary, expenses, tax, social security and pension.
  • Potential amendments to the contract of employment.
  • Potential visa requirements.
  • Possible administrative costs. For example the need for an International Payroll.

If possible please complete and return the International Working form as part of your recruitment process or as soon as details regarding the period abroad have been confirmed. Alternativley contact your Faculty HR Team as soon as possible.

There are various other factors that should be considered when engaging an employee to work abroad. Please consider the guidance in the further information section below.

Self employed/contractor

Find out more about the Self Employed / Independent Contractors relationship and if it is appropriate for your circumstances here.

Self-employed individuals are responsible for settling their own income tax and National Insurance personally whether based in the UK or overseas. To set up a relationship with a self-employed service provider please see the Agreement for Services process.

The guidance in the heading below does not apply to self-employed individuals who provide services to the University under an Agreement for Services.

The Agreement for Services should set out the terms and conditions of the engagement and any agreement for payment of any costs incurred by the self-employed contractor in delivering those services.

Casual worker

It is unlikely that an individual working overseas will be identified as a casual worker. If you feel this relationship is suitable however please contact your Faculty HR Team to discuss the options available.

We are unable to pay Individuals working overseas via the University casual payroll as the are not required to pay UK tax and National Insurance. Therefore there may be additional administrative costs to set up appropriate payment arrangements.


Further information

Keeping in touch

KITIf you are travelling or working abroad for the University you must ensure that the relevant people are aware of you trip.

Please ensure that:

  • Your Head of Department is aware of, and has agreed, your trip.
  • Your emergency contact details are up to date in myJob.
  • Your Departmental administrator or manager has the details of your travel plans.

When providing the details of your travel you should ensure they are aware of the following:

  • Dates of travel, including when to expect you back in the office.
  • Flight and accommodation details.
  • How to contact you in an emergency.
  • Any other relevant information.

InsuranceAll staff are covered by the University’s travel insurance where travel is made on University business. You must ensure your insurance is in place prior to your trip by completing the travel form found on the insurance webpages linked below.

  • The University's travel insurance policy provides cover for Medical Expenses outside an insured member of staff's normal country of residence. The individual should be entitled to their normal healthcare provisions whilst in their home county.
  • If an employee is going to be based in another country for more than a year, you should speak to the Insurance team, as special cover may be required.
  • If the individual is visiting a European country then they should ensure that they have a valid EHIC card.
  • If an employee is engaging in an activity that is deemed to be risky or is planning to visit an area that FCO (Foreign Commonwealth Office) advises against all/essential travel then you must speak with the insurance office to confirm that cover can be arranged. You will need to complete a risk assessment for insurers to view. You can check the FCO website here.

Basic cover provided by the University Insurance policy:

  • Emergency medical and travel expenses while travelling on University business outside your normal country of residence
  • Note that this does not cover routine healthcare costs such as monthly medication for a diabetic.
  • Repatriation/Evacuation – to the UK or their country of origin.
  • Baggage
  • Money and credit cards

Please refer to the insurance travel webpages for a full summary of the cover provided and the excesses applicable.


For any trip over 6 months in duration there is a £250 policy excess for Medical and emergency travel expenses, baggage and money/credit cards.

The University cannot make an insurance claim for anything less than this amount. It is a departmental decision to fund the excess or ask the individual to pay this personally. This should be agreed prior to travel with the member of staff.

Employers/public liability insurance

Employers Liability Insurance - This policy provides cover for the employer in the event of claims brought by employees based on injury to their person suffered in the course of employment as a result of negligence by the employer.

Public Liability Insurance - This policy provides an indemnity to the University for its legal liability for injury to persons (other than employees) and damage to material property belonging to other persons arising in connection with the business of the University is held to be negligent.

Temporary visits abroad up to 24 months including USA/Canada are automatically covered for liability insurance.

If an individual holds a UK employment contract with the University and is being paid from the UK wage roll then insurance will be in place. However, there may also be a requirement to arrange additional cover in some countries in order to comply with local legislation. Please contact the Insurance Team directly to discuss the specific scenario.

If the individual is working in another organization then you should check that they will be insured under the host organisation's liability insurance whilst in their custody and care.

To arrange your Insurance or if you have further queries please visit the webpage here.

Flights and accommodation

FlightsIf you are travelling abroad on University business your Flights and Accommodation should be booked in advance.

They should be booked through a University provider and by University Purchasing card where possible.

  • If you are travelling long-haul, over 6 hours, you can upgrade to business class with your Departments agreement.
  • The University will not reimburse first class travel.

Further details regarding flights and accommodation can be found in the University’s Staff Fees, Expenses and Benefits Procedures Manual.

You should contact the Expenses Team to declare any personal travel that will form part of your trip as this may impact on the expenses that can be reimbursed for the overall trip.

Guidance regarding how to book Flights and Accommodation can be found here.


VaccinationsPlease ensure that you consider any vaccinations you may require for foreign travel.

Many vaccinations are available on the NHS. However, with your department’s agreement, the University will reimburse for any other vaccinations required for University travel.

Vaccinations can be arranged through your own GP or alternatively through the University Health Service. Please be aware that there is a £25 administration fee to use their vaccination service.

You can find further details about travel and health alerts here.

Health and safety

H&SRisk Assessments

Please ensure that you complete the risk assessment form prior to travel for all 'Medium' and 'High' risk travel activities.. We recommend checking the Government website to access the latest information.

Further guidance can be found in the Management of Health and Safety on Fieldwork and Other Off-Campus Activities policy here. This will help you to decide on the appropriate risk category.

Please be aware that if you are sending a staff member abroad to work for a third party, for example a foreign University you must ensure that they have appropriate health and safety measures in place.

Accidents, Incidents and Dangerous Occurrences at Work

In line with University policy should you be involved in an accident, incident or dangerous occurrence whilst abroad on University business you should ensure you report this via the University’s online reporting system within 24 hours of occurrence.

For further guidance relating to health and safety please see here.

Visa arrangements

visaPlease ensure that you check any travel or visa requirements for your destination. We recommend checking the Government website in the first instance.

If you are currently in the UK on any type of Visa and you will be travelling abroad to work on behalf of the University you must contact your Faculty HR Team at your earlier convenience to discuss any necessary arrangements.

For example the University may be required to report your change in circumstances to UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) and failure to do so means that you are not fulfilling your individual sponsor duties.

You can find further information about sponsorship roles and responsibilities here.

Expenses and allowances


If you are undertaking a short term assignment for less than 1 month you are able to claim your expenses via MyJob. Further guidance can be found here.

International Allowance

In limited circumstances and only with the prior approval of the Expenses Team, an allowance to meet travel and subsistence expenses may be paid to staff members travelling for work purposes.

Where such allowances are paid by the University, HMRC may relax its regulations with regard to submitting receipts in support of expenses claims, subject to certain conditions.

If the member of staff is travelling overseas for more than one month and believes it may be difficult to obtain receipts to fully support an expense claim, they should contact the Expenses Team to discuss whether this option is available.

Pay and pensions

PPWorking overseas for extended periods of time may affect a member of staff’s eligibility to either join or continue as a member of the university’s pension scheme. This should therefore be considered where overseas working is being considered.

If the assignment is for less than one month and they plan on returning to the UK and the University of Sheffield will continue to pay their salary via the main payroll and into their nominated bank account then their pension arrangements are also likely to be unaffected.

Please see the Expenses and Allowances section for details regarding how to claim for any expenses that occur whilst abroad.

If the assignment is for longer than one month then there may be Implications for payment of salary, tax, social security and pension which need to be considered prior to your assignment.

If the assignment is for a period of a month or longer please complete the online International Working form. The information you provide will be reviewed and you will be advised if there is any potential impact on your pay and pension arrangements.

If you have any specific queries related to your pension however please contact the pensions office at who will be able to assist you.

Staying safe and other considerations

SafeStaying Safe Abroad

This starts before you go to allow you to plan what you need to do if an emergency should arise. Check the Government website for foreign travel advice.

Plan and follow these tips to help keep you safe:

  • Get to know the location and contact details of support services where you are travelling to.
  • Make a note of the contact details of the British Embassy/High Commission/Consulate where you are.
  • Check your email account regularly.
  • Check the University of Sheffield’s incident page for information if there is an emergency situation.
  • In an emergency situation, use Facebook “check-in” facility to let people know you are safe.
  • If you are working abroad independently, make sure you have funds to leave in an emergency.

Travelling to high risk areas or areas of high concern

  • We do not recommend that you travel to high risk areas. Guidance on travel risks can be found on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice pages
  • If you choose to spend time in such areas, please consider all of the information above and we assume that you have ensured that your trip will not be terrorism-crime or extremist-related, but is it possible or probable that UK or other countries’ security services might think that your trip is related to criminal and/or extremist activity? If so: check out before you travel that the organisation/ employer is bona fide.
Carry in your hand luggage:
  • All documentation relating to your employer or the volunteer organisation.
  • Evidence of return travel plans.
  • Evidence of home address and University employment.
  • Consider who you can talk to if you want/need to leave your place of work.

Other Considerations

We have listed some areas to think about. Please look through this information and follow up any of the suggestions that might benefit you during your time abroad.

If you have a disability, there is legislation in the UK to accommodate many of the adjustments needed to give you equal access – physical and otherwise – to working and everyday living. You may need to plan this for your time abroad, as legislation, attitudes and common practice are likely to be different.

In some societies, cultural expectations of and attitudes to women can be different.

Legislation and social attitudes to the LGBT community vary widely around the world. If you are part of that community, you might find it helpful to do some research in advance: is a good place to start.

What support do you currently have? Things to think about/plan for Contact/web details
Adapting to a new culture Day to day support networks (Colleagues, family, friends)

How aware are you of your own culture?

What might culture shock be like?

Attend cultural awareness training (offered through Supporting the Supporters).

Read about how your culture is perceived.

Talk to colleagues who have been to the country before, to find out what they experienced.

Physical disabilities

Adaptions to accommodation e.g. visual fire alarm, accessible shower?

Specialist equipment for work e.g. software, suitable chair?

Funding for any specialist equipment or support you might need.

Speak to your line manager.

For advice about preparing for travelling abroad see:

Long term physical health difficulties

Special diet?

Regular GP or clinic appointments?


Is your medication available there? How much will it cost? How much can you take with you? Is it legal to use there? Talk to your GP or specialist at your next appointment.
Mental health difficulties



Regular GP appointments?

Is your medication available there? How much will it cost? How much can you take with you? Is it legal to use there?

Will you have access to talking therapies, such as counselling? If not, what access will will you have to your current support?

What alternative support can you look into? E.g. online

Talk to your GP, Psychiatric support, counsellor as soon as you can.

Visit for contact details for Samaritans and other organisations in many countries.

Faith Community

Kosher/halal meat?

Vegetarian diet?

Religious holidays - time off? Hospitality?

Place of worship/fellow worshippers?

Will you find your faith community there?

Can you dress according to religious custom as you do here?

What is the social view of your faith group there?

Visit the University Multi-Faith Chaplaincy

Speak to your minister of religion.

LGBT Community

Equality Legislation.

Social venues/activities

What is the legal situation there?

How can you prepare for different social or legal situations?

Visit for details of LGBT rights around the world.

See for information about the legal, political and social situation in Europe.

Gender Issues

Equality Legislation.

Social acceptance (generally) of rights regarding dress, employment etc.

How can you prepare for different social or legal situations?

Will you need to dress differently in some situations?

Talk to colleagues who have been to the country before, to find out what they experienced.
Political Issues

There are high levels of anxiety about terrorism and extremism across the world.

What is the situation where you will be about discussing or engaging with controversial groups or individuals?

Check UK Government web pages.

Management considerations

ManagementIt is the responsibility of the manager to ensure that irrespective of the location of their staff members that they manage the relationship accordingly.  

Please speak with your Faculty HR Team for guidance regarding the best way to achieve this. Guidance regarding our policy and procedures can also be found here.