1. Policy statement

1.1 The University Strategy operates in a global environment aiming to be among the best universities in the world encouraging creativity, independence, enterprise and initiative.

1.2 We aim to provide an environment that attracts the very best staff and students from all over the world, encourages and facilitates academic endeavour, and provides a supportive atmosphere for the development and sharing of knowledge

1.3 Guided by these values, we seek to build a University that distinguishes itself in the world-leading quality of its research, in its outstanding teaching, and in the quality and value of the students' university experience.

1.4 This policy sets out to support the attraction, recruitment and retention of able and talented international academics who are, or have the potential to be, leaders in their disciplines. Specifically the policy outlines the University's approach to reimbursing eligible employees for their visa application fee and the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) where the employee requires a visa to live in the UK and work for the University.

1.5 The University is legally required to employ only those with valid permission to work in the UK. There is no legislation that requires the University to pay for (or reimburse staff for) their visa application fees or the Immigration Health Surcharge.

1.6 Where the University does reimburse these fees (as set out in the following policy), it must comply with relevant HMRC tax and reporting rules, which may change from time to time. The University reserves the right to modify this policy and/or the accompanying process to remain compliant.

2. Scope

2.1 To be eligible to claim reimbursement under this policy an individual must:

  • Be a current employee of the University of York.
  • Be on an open ended or fixed term contract of two years or more.
  • Have started employment with the University of York, or, in the case of visa extensions / switches, be an existing employee.
  • Require permission from the UK government to allow them to live in the UK and work at the University of York.
  • Be classed as the main visa applicant.

2.2 Fees incurred as part of the following visa routes may be eligible for reimbursement under this policy:

  • Skilled Worker - initial application and extension.
  • Global Talent - if the visa was required to start/continue to work at the University of York - initial application (including endorsement and visa) and extension.
  • Dependant as an alternative to a Skilled Worker or Global Talent visa.
  • Indefinite Leave to Remain, when switching from a Skilled Worker Global Talent or Dependant visa as outlined above.

For clarification on eligibility please contact the HR Compliance Team.

2.3 Any individual with the required pre-existing right to work for longer than six months in the UK will not be eligible to make a claim under this policy.

2.4 Additional charges associated with priority/premium services will only be reimbursed on an exceptional basis and with prior agreement of the HR Compliance Team.

2.5 The policy excludes reimbursement in relation to legal fees, postage costs and does not include costs for dependants. Those costs not eligible for reimbursement under this policy may be eligible to apply for an interest-free salary advance under the Salary advance for UK Immigration Application Fees Policy.

2.6 Reimbursement is not permitted where the claimant has already applied for or is in receipt of a salary advance for the same costs under the University's scheme.

2.7 Visas for business travel are a separate matter, not within the scope of this policy. (Please refer to the University's Travel and Expenses policy).

3. Aims

3.1 This policy aims to support the University to attract and recruit high quality employees from around the world and for these new employees to feel supported during their introduction into University of York working life.

4. Principles

4.1 Reimbursement of visa costs are managed by the HR Compliance Team.

4.2 Reimbursement will be made no earlier than the commencement date of employment.

4.3 Reimbursements will be paid as part of the member of staff's monthly salary payment. The reimbursement of visa application fees and the Immigration Health Surcharge under this policy is classed as earnings by the UK tax authority (HMRC), the University must deduct tax and national insurance contributions (NICs), where appropriate. In most cases, the reimbursement of an individual's visa application fee and Immigration Healthcare Surcharge will be subject to deductions for tax and National Insurance. Further information on tax and national insurance status will be provided to you following submission of the 'Visa Application Fee and IHS Reimbursement Claim Form'.

4.4 The tax treatment of visa application fee reimbursement may change to take account of revised tax guidance.

4.5 Where a claim is made and subsequently paid under this policy to a member of staff, the individual will be bound by the following terms:

4.6 In the event an employee submits a resignation and subsequently leaves the University's employment within the tenure of their visa, they will be liable to repay a proportionate sum to the University. This will be calculated with consideration of the percentage of the visa tenure that has been served at the University. Recovery will be made directly from the individual's final salary payment (or via alternative arrangements, if necessary).

4.6.1 The value to be repaid will be as follows:

Percentage of visa tenure served

Value to be repaid

5% or less


6% to 10%


11% to 20%


21% to 30%


31% to 40%


41% to 50%


51% to 60%


61% to 70%


71% to 80%


81% to 87%


88% to 100%


4.6.2 There may be some instances, where the staff member's visa tenure extends beyond the tenure of their contract of employment e.g. a fixed term appointment. Where this is applicable and the employee resigns leaving the University's employment before the end date of their contract of employment, they will be liable to repay a proportionate sum of the costs claimed under this policy. The value to be repaid will be as outlined in the above table, however, rather than being on the basis of the percentage tenure served of the visa, the repayment liability will be based on the percentage served of the contract. This will not include contract extensions.

4.6.3 Where the staff member has been reimbursed for an application for Indefinite Leave to Remain and subsequently resigns, the repayment will be based on a two year period from the date of the Indefinite Leave to Remain application.

5. Procedure or guidelines

5.1 All claims under this policy meet the following conditions in order to be considered.

Claims must be submitted within 3 months of:

  • the start date of employment at the University if this is a new appointment
  • or the expense being incurred by the employee if already employed by the University

5.2 The employee is required to complete the Request for Reimbursement of Visa Application Fees and IHS form.

5.3 It is critical that the information provided on this form is accurate, particularly any details that could have a tax and National Insurance implication.

5.4 The employee must attach to the claim form satisfactory evidence of costs (email confirmation receipts) from a successful visa application.

6. Responsibilities


Accountable for

HR Compliance

Management of the scheme

Approval of claims

Provision of advice in relation to the scheme

Human Resources

Regular review of this policy or in response to revised legislation and applicable standards and guidelines, whichever is sooner, to ensure that this policy still meets the University's needs.


Payment of reimbursement to the employee and deduction of relevant tax and National Insurance

Recovery of reimbursement from final salary should the employee leave before the end of their visa tenure, if repayment is applicable


Arrange for full or partial recovery of reimbursements where this cannot be recovered through payroll, where applicable under this policy.


Complete the 'Request for Reimbursement of Visa Costs' form with accurate information.

Provide satisfactory evidence of costs (receipts) from a successful visa application

Submit the claim for reimbursement within three months of visa start date.

Repay a proportionate part of their reimbursement to the University where applicable if they choose to leave the University within the duration of their visa.

7. Glossary of terms

IHS - Immigration Health Surcharge

8. Approval

The development and review of this policy will involve consultation with both the University Executive Board and Special Interest Group prior to approval and publication.

9. Monitoring

This policy will usually be reviewed as a minimum every three years or in response to revised legislation and applicable standards and guidelines, whichever is sooner, to ensure that this policy still meets the University's needs. Any review will involve consultation with SIG.

Document control

  • Approved on: 17 April 2024
  • Last reviewed: 26 March 2024