Employing overseas residents

The considerations below should be read thoroughly, and departments are advised to use their discretion and own judgement on the extent of the applicability of each of the consideration in every individual situation.

This guidance must be read in conjunction with the Finance Division’s guidance at https://finance.admin.ox.ac.uk/overseas-working

This guidance can be downloaded in 'pdf' format from the right-hand side menu.

Expand All

Before a job is advertised, departments need to consider carefully what employment status and contract type the role should have attached to it. Where a department wishes to employ a non-UK resident who will be based outside the UK for the entire duration of their employment with the University, it is important to decide on the most appropriate employment status and contract type early in the process.

Employment of overseas residents who will continue to live and work outside the UK can be complicated to arrange and manage, and the recruitment process can be lengthy. In addition, departments may also incur additional costs associated with overseas employment. Where an individual is based overseas as an employee of the University, the University might be liable for additional obligations in that country of work. For example, the University may need to register with the local authorities for tax and social security purposes, which would normally incur significant additional fees for the department. In some cases, other means of engagement may be more appropriate, for example, where a service is being provided, it may be possible to engage an individual as a self-employed consultant or contractor basis (or a worker with a contract for services), rather than as an employee on a Chancellor, Masters and Scholars (CMS) employment contract. The Finance Division web pages contain further information about consultancy arrangements.

Departments should consult their HR Business Partner for further advice, who in turn may need to seek further guidance from the Payroll team and/or Legal Services. Departments must exercise caution with consultancy arrangements as other countries may take a different approach to employment status than the UK. A consultancy does not absolve the University of any employer obligations if the arrangement constitutes an employment relationship. Departments are encouraged to take advice as early as possible.

Back to top

The University's standard pre-employment checks should be followed in the event of the recruitment of an overseas resident who will be based outside the UK. However, employees who are non-UK residents and who will be based outside the UK for the duration of their employment with the University will not be required to provide proof of their right to work in the UK, unless they will undertake work in the UK as part of their employment duties. Please see the 'Visas and immigration matters' section below, for further information.

Departments should note that obtaining and verifying information for a prospective employee from overseas is likely to be a time-consuming exercise and in most cases will add time to the recruitment process. Where possible, departments should account for this additional time in their recruitment exercise. In some cases owing to either legal constraints or the operating conditions in a specific country, the necessary information may be limited or not be available altogether. The University's Security Services team might be able to assist with certain overseas checks and should be contacted for advice early in the process.

Where it may not be possible to carry out the required checks or in cases where there is insufficient assurance from the checks, before proceeding with the employment of that individual, departments should seek advice from their HR Business Partner, who in turn may need to liaise with the Legal Services team.

Back to top

Departments need to be aware that local legislative Health and Safety requirements may apply to staff working overseas. The Safety Office can be contacted for further advice on health and safety matters related to staff working overseas.

Back to top

Departments should check that the employee based overseas has a legal right to work and live in that country. Carrying out an identity check, for example, by obtaining a photocopy of a valid passport, birth certificate or national ID card, may be adequate in many cases. The University's Security Services team can be contacted for advice on verifying pre-employment checks for overseas staff.

If an overseas employee will be expected to visit the UK in order to undertake any duties as part of their employment with the University, they must have the right to work in the UK and therefore may require a visa. In such cases, the right to work check requirements will apply. The Staff Immigration team should be contacted for further advice.

Back to top

Departments should have the following details for members of staff based overseas:

  • contact details for the employee (including agreement on the most appropriate means of communicating)
  • next of kin (ideally two contacts) who can be contacted in case of an emergency
  • if relevant, information about any health conditions
  • arrangements for the employee to make regular contact with the department/their line manager
  • an agreed process on what to do if contact is not made as anticipated

It is the responsibility of the member of staff to inform their department of any changes to their contact details.

Back to top

Expenses and allowances whilst working abroad should be agreed with the employee before travel. For further guidance, see the Claimants' Expenses Guidance.

Back to top

Departments will need to agree with the employee a number of practical arrangements in relation to the management of their employment overseas.

The principles outlined in the Working from home guidance should also be followed for overseas workers, especially in relation to:

  • keeping in touch
  • recording working time, holidays and sickness
  • the employee's terms and conditions of employment
  • the employee's letter of appointment
  • providing and maintaining equipment
  • data protection and information security rules
  • responsibility for the health and safety of the employee

The employing department should also agree with the employee in advance how performance management and PDR processes will be followed. This could be by email, regular telephone calls, Skype calls, teleconferences or a combination of the above.

Back to top

Departments should ensure that good record-keeping is maintained for all employees. For those employees who will be travelling/working overseas, it is particularly important to maintain accurate records for the following:

  • risk assessment documentation
  • contact details for the employee, including their next of kin
  • protocols for contact (for example, agreed means and frequency of contact)

In addition, all new starters at the University must have a ‘Right-to-Work’ screen filled out in CorePersonnel.

Where the employee will work outside the UK for the entire duration of their employment with the University, the option “Working overseas, RTW not required” should be selected. Where employees may be expected to come to the UK for work during their employment, right-to-work checks will apply.

Refer to QRG PA10 Maintaining Right to Work Data for guidance on updating Core.

All other employment-related events must be recorded in Core for all employees.

Back to top

Departments and employees alike should be aware of their responsibilities under the GDPR and related UK data protection legislation. Additionally, there are special rules and restrictions in relation to transferring personal data outside the European Economic Area (EEA). Please contact the University’s Compliance Office if you have any concerns or issues regarding data protection.

Back to top

Where an employee conducts their employment wholly overseas, there are usually tax and social security implications for the University. The International Working Arrangements policy must be adhered to in order to mitigate any risks.

Back to top

The University does not ordinarily make payments into non-UK bank accounts. Where a department appoints a non-UK national who will also work and live outside the UK, the Payroll team should be contacted in advance for advice on payment of salary.

Back to top