Retention periods for University personnel records

11 December 2020 updates to reflect immigration changes from 1 December 2020 and new 'skilled worker' visa route

25 May 2018 update: please note that the retention periods listed below remain appropriate under GDPR and related UK data protection legislation. As part of University HR's GDPR improvement programme, we are currently reviewing the guidance provided below in light of operational viability. Please check back soon for updates. 


In order to comply with data protection requirements, departments and divisions are asked to ensure that they retain records for the time periods indicated in the table below, but for no longer. NB where two separate periods are indicated.

Type of record Retention period Notes
For skilled workers and temporary workers (Tier 5): 

Documents relating to sponsorship application (i.e. qualification certificate, job description). 

For further details go to the Staff Immigration Team website. See separate rules for the retention of right to work check documents (below).

1 year after the employer has ceased sponsoring the migrant.  Home Office requirement, compliance is essential.
For all job applicants who are not subsequently engaged or employed by the University: 
Recruitment records (applications, references, shortlisting notes, interview notes, selection test paperwork, any other paperwork such as copies of qualifications, provided by candidates, etc)

6 months following the end of the recruitment process (subject to rules in respect of sponsorship application as set out above)

Note that there may be occasions where these documents are required for longer than 6 months in relation to skilled workers etc as above. Where there is an ongoing Employment Tribunal process documents should be retained as long as is necessary in the particular circumstances.

For all employees and casual staff:    
Copy of right to work check documents 2 years after employment ends. Home Office requirement, compliance is essential. 
Parental leave records 18 years from the birth/adoption of the child  

Personnel files and training records (including recruitment records as described above and redundancy details)

7 years after University employment ceases. Including disciplinary and working time records [NB see guidance on handling disciplinary warnings in the introduction to Section 8 of the staff handbooks]
Wage/salary records 7 years after University employment ceases. Main payroll records are held by the Payroll section. 
For visitor visa holders: copy of immigration status check (i.e. copy of passport and visa/immigration stamp) For duration of visit. University policy.

Recruitment record-keeping - additional guidance

All processing of records should be carried out in accordance with the GDPR and related UK data protection legislation and the University's Policy on Data Protection.

Information to be retained should include:

  • applications
  • references
  • shortlisting notes (including the reasons for selection or rejection in each case)
  • interview notes for all members of the selection panel (including the reasons for selection or rejection in each case)
  • selection test paperwork, and
  • any other documentation provided by candidates (copies of qualifications, etc).

Additional record-keeping responsibilities apply where employees are  Skilled Workers or Tier 5 visa holder.   Find out more on the Staff Immigration Team website