1. Introduction

The purpose of this guidance is to ensure that all University staff who work overseas are treated fairly and consistently and that managers are aware of all the considerations they must undertake when considering employing new staff or agreeing to existing staff working overseas.

For the vast majority of job roles, there is an expectation that staff will live and work within the UK and be able to attend their place of work to carry out the duties required under their contract of employment. There may be exceptional circumstances which require an employee to be based overseas eg. a desicison taken by the University Executive Board to commence operations in an overseas Country or a research grant specifically requiring an employee to be based overseas (in which case it would be expected that advice/approval would be sought at the bid stage in anticipation of the award of the grant). Advice from HR will be obtained and approval must first be given by:

  • the relevant Dean for academic Departments; or
  • the Vacancy Review Group (VRG) on behalf of the Chief Operating Officer for professional support directorates

The University must ensure that all legislative requirements are considered and appropriate advice taken where necessary, before any commitment is given or any terms are negotiated with the employee and/ or research funders.

There are a number of key issues to consider when contemplating the employment of staff who will work for the University from outside the UK, which are listed below (see section 4 for information on issues which require specific consideration at the outset of this process). This includes a number of important financial and contractual issues which must be considered to ensure that the University is compliant with its tax and other legal obligations.

Due to the complexity of staff working for the University in a non-UK country, it is important that advice is sought during the planning stage to ensure that country specific considerations, particularly on issues such as tax, social security and pensions can be identified and that any associated costs can be budgeted for by the Department / directorate. Costs will include seeking external expertise on tax and social security issues of someone living outside the UK which is typically £5,000 to £6,000 per case, as well as monthly costs of running a "shadow" payroll. Support on how to obtain this advice from an external provider of this specialist information should be sought from the HR Adviser in the first instance.

2. Scope

This guidance applies to the following circumstances:

  1. When the University is recruiting an employee who lives and will continue to live and work in a non-UK country for 90 days or more.
  2. When the University is agreeing for an employee to be based in a non-UK country on an assignment or secondment for 90 days.
  3. Employees undertaking a period of research in a non-UK Country that is due to last for longer than 90 days.

It is expected that for cases that fall within 1 and 2, a strategic decision is made by the University Executive Board to operate in an overseas country and/or when research bids are being prepared they should include provision for the approriate advice costs and time to secure the necessary advice for the emplopment of staff overseas.

This guidance does not currently cover the following scenarios, however, it is important to note that working from a non-UK country, regardless of the length, may also carry some or all of the implications set out in section 3:

  • Staff travelling overseas as part of their academic/teaching or research responsibilities or activities (in such cases, the interim business travel restrictions guidance should be considered)
  • Staff wishing to work from overseas for personal reasons - this is not permitted
  • Staff based abroad for a period of, for example, rearch leave for less than 90 days
  • The use of casual workers overseas - this is not permitted unless there is a business requirement for that piece of work to be performed from overseas.


  1. Working overseas is defined as an employee of the University of York conducting business/work on behalf of UoY whilst living for a period of 90 days in a non-UK country.
  2. This does not include those staff who travel overseas from time to time to conduct research and follow the normal University processes to log that travel