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Temporary Work Visas

Overview of the most commonly used Temporary Work Visas and the sponsorship requirements.


We are registered as a sponsor under two categories within the Temporary Work route:

  • Government Authorised Exchange
  • Creative Worker

Temporary Work: Government Authorised Exchange Visa

This route is primarily for sponsored researchers and can be issued for a maximum period of two years. It cannot be extended beyond this time.

A sponsored researcher is a person who wishes to come to the UK to lead or to take part in any formal research project. Formal research projects are those hosted but not necessarily funded by a UK research institution including universities, non-commercial research organisations, charitable organisations and national research councils (such as the Medical Research Council). The work or activities carried out must never amount to what the Home Office terms ‘a genuine vacancy’.

Sponsored researchers can be funded from sources in the UK or overseas. They cannot be self-funded or registered on a PhD programme in their own country.

Further detailed information on the Temporary Work − Government Authorised Exchange Visa can be found on the UK government website.

For a list of Government Authorised Exchange Schemes, please visit the GOV.UK website.

How to initiate the request for sponsorship

HR will need to issue a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) which the sponsored researcher can use to apply for their UK Entry Clearance or visa.

HR will need confirmation that the member of staff hosting the visit has obtained the appropriate authorisation from their Head of Department.

To qualify under this visa, the University is obliged to provide evidence of the applicant's sponsorship for the full duration of their time in the UK.

This evidence can be in the form of a letter to the person confirming the details of the sponsoring body.

The information required by HR should include:

  • the name of the person for whom the permit is sought
  • the name of the sponsor
  • the name of the host institution where the person will be based
  • the title of the post
  • details of the funding provided
  • the period of the sponsorship required
  • the applicant’s CV

HR will also need a copy of the applicant's passport, their email address and their postal address.

Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) requirement

Applicants will require an ATAS certificate if they need to obtain a Temporary Work − Government Authorised Exchange Visa and are intending to research at postgraduate level in certain sensitive subjects (for example academics and researchers). Please visit our ATAS webpages for more information.

The Staff Immigration Team will let the applicant know if they need to apply for an ATAS Certificate. They will advise them of their SOC code, academic subject (CAH3) code and provide them with the research statement from their line manager or host. The Staff Immigration Team will not issue a CoS until they have received formal confirmation from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) that an ATAS application has been approved.

Temporary Work: Creative Worker Visa

Sponsorship under this route may be available for those coming to the UK as an actor, dancer, musician or film-crew member.

Further detailed information can be found on the government web pages.


If you have any questions, please contact us.

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