Immigration and visas

We welcome job applicants from all countries and nationalities to the University of Sheffield. As a global institution we have a strong track record of successfully recruiting staff from all over the world.


We aim to make your transition to living and working in Sheffield as smooth as possible.  For example, we provide financial support to successful candidates in the form of our visa reimbursement scheme, plus an interest-free loan scheme to help cover the cost of visa fees for dependents accompanying you. Our HR team is available to support you in relation to immigration matters and right to work.

As part of the University’s recruitment process, we are required to check that all prospective employees have the right to work in the UK.  If you are unsure of your right to work, we recommend using the online tool provided by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) which will help you to establish your eligibility and options relating to visas.

There are a number of different visa routes to work in the UK. The majority you will need to arrange yourself, however there are some routes where the University will need to provide information to you, if you will be working in an eligible role for that visa route.

Skilled Worker visa

Sponsorship under the Skilled Worker route permits you to undertake a specific role which must meet the Skilled worker requirements.  In addition, Skilled Worker visa applicants are required to provide certain documents. 

As well as considering the information below about the Skilled Worker visa requirements, please familiarise yourself with the eligibility requirements set out by UK Visas & Immigration before applying for a role.

Duties and responsibilities

The main duties and responsibilities of the job you are considering must match those of an appropriate Occupation Code within the Skilled Worker eligible jobs.   

You can find more information about the typical duties within a particular Occupation code by searching for it in the ONS occupation coding tool.  The job description within the SOC code must match the work that you will be doing for it to be eligible.  

If you are successful in your application, Human Resources will determine the most suitable occupation code for the job.


The minimum salary for the type of work you’ll be doing must be at the appropriate level determined by the UKVI.  This is usually the higher of £25,600 per annum or the ‘going rate’ for the type of work you’ll be doing.  Each occupation code has its own annual ‘going rate'.  You can find the going rate for a particular job type in the going rates table.  

There are some occasions when you might still be eligible for a Skilled Worker visa if the job is eligible but your salary is less than the job’s usual ‘going rate’. You or the job will have to meet certain criteria in order for the reduced salary rate to apply.  

You may be paid between 70% and 90% of the usual going rate for the job if the salary you will be paid is at least £20,480 per year and one of the criteria below is met:

  • The job is in a shortage occupation specified by the UKVI
  • You are under 26
  • You are studying or a recent graduate, or in professional training
  • You have a science, technology, engineering or maths (STEM) PhD level qualification that is relevant to the role (if you have a PhD level qualification in any other subject that is relevant to the role the salary must be at least £23,040)
  • You have a postdoctoral position in science or higher education specified by the UKVI

The UKVI web pages have more information about when you can be paid less.

If you are successful in your application, Human Resources will determine if one of the above options apply.

ATAS certificate

If your role involves research at postgraduate level in certain sensitive subjects you are required to obtain an ATAS certificate before applying for the Skilled Worker visa.  The subject and research areas are those where knowledge is gained and could be used in programmes to develop Advance Conventional Military Technology, weapons of mass destruction, or their means of delivery.

Researchers who are nationals of the countries listed here do not need an ATAS certificate.  

At the University the ATAS requirements apply to all of the research carried out in the Faculty of Engineering and the Faculty of Science (except Psychology).  There are other parts of the University where research may be undertaken in areas where ATAS will apply, for example, within the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health, the Advanced Manufacturing Group and the Department of Geography.

All Research Associate, Research Fellow, Lecturer, Senior Lecturer and Professor positions fall within the scope of ATAS subject to meeting the nationality and research area criteria.  Other jobs at the University, for example, Technical roles, Engineers, Scientists are assessed on a case by case basis.

If applicable, Human Resources will provide you with information about applying for your ATAS certificate, including the relevant CAH code and research statement if you are successful in your application.

Further information on the ATAS requirements can be found here.

English language requirement

In order to apply for a Skilled Worker visa you will usually need to prove that you meet the English language requirement (level B1 or higher) when you apply for your visa, unless you did this in a previous successful visa application. You can evidence this in several ways:

  • Passing a Secure English Language Test (SELT) from an approved provider
  • Having a GCSE, A level, Scottish Higher or Advance Higher in English, gained through study at a UK school that began when you were under 18
  • Having a degree level academic qualification that was taught in English.  If you studies abroad, you will need to apply through ECCTIS for confirmation that your degree met the required level of English language
  • If you are a national of certain countries or territories you do not need to prove your knowledge of English language

There is further information about the knowledge of English requirements for the Skilled Worker visa on the UKVI web pages.

TB certificate

The UKVI requires applicants to take a TB test before coming to the UK if certain criteria apply. You can check if you need a TB test for your visa application.   

Examples of eligible roles for sponsorship

Here are some examples of the types of roles that the University is likely to be able to sponsor under the Skilled Worker route:

Research Associate Research Fellow Research Technician
Lecturer Senior Lecturer Professor
Software Engineer Project Engineer Senior Manufacturing Research Engineer
Technical Lead IT Project Manager Health and Safety Adviser
Procurement Category Manager Commercialisation Officer Business Analyst

What happens if I am successful in a job application and need a Skilled Worker visa?

If you are successful in a job which is eligible for sponsorship Human Resources will support you in the process of obtaining the Skilled Worker visa. 

There are two stages, first the University will assign you a Certificate of Sponsorship and then you will be able to apply for your visa.

Certificate of sponsorship (CoS) and visa application

We will ask you for certain documents as confirmation of how you will meet the criteria for sponsorship.  For example, we will ask you for copies of your qualification certificates, how you meet the knowledge of English language requirements, a copy of your passport and TB certificate (if applicable).  We will also provide information about applying for an ATAS certificate (if applicable).  If ATAS is required your ATAS certificate should be provided to Human Resources before your CoS can be assigned.  Once we have determined that the requirements for sponsorship have been met, we will assign your CoS which you will need to make your visa application.

You CoS will be assigned based on the duration of your employment.  If you have a permanent contract we will discuss the length of the CoS with you.  Although there is no limit to the time that can be spent sponsored under the Skilled Worker route, you may be eligible to apply for settlement (Indefinite Leave to Remain) after five year’s residence in the UK.

Skilled Worker visa timeline

The length of time it can take to obtain a Skilled Worker visa can vary depending on a number of factors, for example, if you need to take an English language test, obtain a TB certificate or an ATAS certificate. The below information is intended as a guide, but it should be noted that it may take longer than indicated due to external organisations such as the UKVI being responsible for the visa process.


If your job requires an ATAS certificate then you should take this into consideration in relation to the timescales involved to obtain a Skilled Worker visa.  The Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office is responsible for issuing ATAS certificates.  Their web pages indicate that applications take at least 20 working days (4 full weeks) to process.  If applying between April and September, it can take at least 30 working days to complete.  There is no ‘fast track’ service and it should be noted that on occasions ATAS applications can take longer than their advertised timescales.

Visa application

Once the full visa application, including online application, payment of fee and registering biometric details, has been completed processing times are normally:

Visa reimbursement and visa loan scheme

We provide financial support to successful candidates in the form of our visa reimbursement scheme that will reimburse the costs of certain visas and costs for the main applicant, including the Skilled Worker visa.

We also have an interest-free loan scheme to help reduce the financial impact for certain visa costs, including the Skilled Worker visa, that are not covered by the visa reimbursement scheme.  The loan can be used to help spread the impact of visa application and immigration health surcharge costs for dependents.  


Your partner and children can apply to join you or stay in the UK as your ‘dependents’ if they are eligible.  If their application is successful, their visa will end on the same date as yours.  There is more information about dependents on the UKVI Skilled Worker web pages.

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