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Immigration Support Scheme

News - changes to the scheme from 1 June 2024.

The way staff claim for reimbursement for visa costs under the scheme is changing. There is also a slight increase to the capped amount for a first claim under the scheme that will apply for claims submitted after 1 June 2024.

Following feedback over confusion when a claim is subject to tax and NI deductions and a request to simplify the number of forms for those relocating from overseas, those who pay for visas fees from outside the UK and who are relocating from overseas will claim reimbursement for visa and IHS fees instead using the University relocation form available from the payroll expenses team web pages here. From 1 June 2024 onwards, the Immigration Support Scheme form will only be used for claims for visa applications made within in the UK. 

The capped amount for those claiming a first claim under the scheme for in-UK visa and IHS fees has been increased slightly to the maximum of £5,249.00 paid to the individual into their salary, up from the previous max. amount paid which was £4,374.45. The cost to the University for each claim has increased from a capped amount of £5,000 to £6,000 due to employers NI to be paid. HMRC rules state that reimbursement of in-UK visas is subject to tax and NI deductions.

About the Immigration Support Scheme (ISS)

Since 2021, all nationals except British and Irish citizens, European nationals who have been granted settled or pre settled status and all other nationals who have obtained Indefinite Leave to Remain, require a visa or immigration permission to work in the UK.

The Immigration Support Scheme (ISS) has been in place since 2021 to provide support to help its international staff who are required to apply and pay for work visas, to enable them to work, or continue to work, at Warwick. The link provides information on the latest UK visa fees charged by UKVI. UK visa fees - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

The aim of the scheme is to reduce some of the financial burdens associated with obtaining these visas for our employees and their family to come to and remain in the UK by providing financial support. Please note the scheme may not cover all costs incurred, particularly for visa holders who are also submitting a claim for their dependants.

The Scheme was modified in April 2022 to only reimburse staff who are required to apply for Skilled Worker and Global Talent Visas and their dependants visa costs, up to the capped amount.

The Scheme was further modified in September 2022 to allow for a second or further reimbursement claim for visa costs where an employee has received a fixed term contract extension of 12 months or more. This also applies if a person has moved from a fixed term contract to an indefinite position and requires a new visa or visa extension. For second or further claims, a lower capped amount applies and only one first claim up to the higher capped amount can be ever be made under the scheme. Only the main visa holder employee can claim for reimbursement of their second or further visa costs up to a capped amount of £2,172 and not their dependants. See sections 7 and 8 below for further details.

The Scheme was modified in October 2022 to include the High Potential Visa within the scope of visas that qualify for support.

The Scheme was changed in October 2023 to be only eligible to those appointed on:
academic terms and conditions
levels 6-9 terms and conditions
for individuals in research grant posts for whom the terms of their grants specify visa expenses.

In very exceptional cases and subject to approval by the Head of Department, some specific roles below Grade 6 may be approved as able to submit a claim, such as those on the Shortage Occupation List and/or difficult to recruit positions, e.g. Technician or Trainee Engineer roles. These roles must be for more than 12 months duration.

From 1 June 2024, the ISS and form will be used only for in-UK visa applications. Those travelling from overseas can claim their visa fees as part of the University relocation scheme and the international relocation allowance has been increased to reflect this change.

From 1 June 2024, the cap for first claims made in the UK in terms of the amount reimbursed has been increased to £5,249.00 up from £4,374.45. The cost to the University for each claim has increased from a capped amount of £5,000 to £6,000 due to employers NI to be paid.

Scheme details.

  1. The scheme applies to international staff (both non-European and European nationals) in academic, research and teaching posts and those in Professional Services and other posts at grade 6 and above who may have to pay for a Skilled Worker, Global Talent visa or High Potential Visa to work at Warwick.
  2. The scheme allows staff to make a first claim for reimbursement of visa, Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) and other visa related costs for them and their family members up to a capped amount. The max amount reimbursed for a first claim for in-UK visas for claims submitted from 1 June 2024 is £5,249.00 up from £4,374.45. The cost to the University increases to £6,000 from £5,000 due to employer’s NI to be paid.
  3. The reimbursed amount for in-UK visas is then subject to tax and NI deductions due to HMRC rules.
    For example, for a basic rate taxpayer, if the maximum £5,249.00 is reimbursed, you could expect to receive a net maximum of £3,674.30 after tax and NI deductions.
    For a higher rate tax payer, if the maximum £5,249.00 is reimbursed, you could expect to receive a net maximum of £3,044.42 after tax and NI deductions.
  4. The scheme is intended to cover many of the costs that may be incurred but is not a commitment to meeting all visa costs.
  5. If the employee is claiming for dependants visa costs, the claim for both the main visa holder and dependants should be submitted together on the same form.
  6. If the person is relocating from outside of the UK and applied for their visa from overseas, their reimbursement is usually exempt from tax and NI deductions, provided HMRC criteria is met. From 1 June 2024, claims for visa and IHS fees applied for from outside of the UK should be claimed using the relocation expenses forms instead of the ISS form. The relocation capped amount for international relocation has been increased to reflect this change.
  7. For those not eligible for relocation assistance, they will still be able to apply for reimbursement of visa related immigration costs using the ISS scheme.
  8. The amount to be reimbursed will be paid through the University payroll in the next available pay run once approved and processed. Please note, this is NOT the same as the timetable for relocation claims and please also note the payroll cut-off dates which may well mean you receive payment in the month following the submission of your claim.
  9. Second or further claims for reimbursement of visa, Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) and other visa related costs can be made by employees only where they have been granted a fixed term contract extension of 12 months or more or have moved to a permanent contract and are required to pay for a new visa or visa extension to continue in the role. The employee must be the main visa holder and dependants will be unable to be reimbursed for any second or further visa extension costs. The maximum reimbursement to an individual for a second of further claim will be £2,172 and this payment will be subject to tax and NI deduction.
  10. Departments are required to fund the claims from their existing budgets, however if a claim can be reimbursed via a funding grant, then an ‘R’ code should be provided on the form. Departments should check that reimbursement is in line with the grant funding rules where applicable.
  11. The employee will need to pay back some of the amount reimbursed if they resign, either before the end of their fixed term contract or within three years of the amount reimbursed, whichever is the shorter period. The employee will be required to pay back a proportion of the monies paid on a pro-rata basis based on the number of days employed compared to the number of days in the person’s contract. This is calculated by the Payroll team.
  12. If an employee has resigned from their job, any claim submitted for reimbursement will not be processed.
  13. The scheme is not contractual and the University reserves the right to amend or withdraw the scheme.
  14. The original scheme was implemented in January 2021 and modified in April and September and October 2022. Further changes will take place as detailed above from 1 June 2024.

What is not covered by the scheme

  1. The scheme does not provide support for visa costs other than Skilled Worker, Global Talent visas and High Potential Visas.
  2. Costs paid for priority or fast track visa services will not normally be reimbursed. It is the responsibility of the authorising manager to check the correct fees have been claimed for before approving the form.
  3. Costs of flights to the UK are not covered by this scheme. Flights should claimed as an allowed cost under the relocation scheme if the person is eligible for the international relocation scheme.
  4. Claims for dependants visa costs are not covered for second/further claims under the scheme. Second and further claims are for the employed main visa holders only and where they have received a fixed term contract extension of 12 months or more or have been made permanent and accordingly need to apply for a new visa or visa extension.
  5. Employees granted fixed term contract extensions of less than 12 months will not be able to claim for reimbursement of second or further visa fees under this scheme.
  6. The scheme does not provide support for the costs of applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain, (also known as Settlement) or the costs of applying for British Citizenship for employees or their dependants. Departments are unable to reimburse these fees separately at their own discretion.
  7. The scheme cannot be used to retrospectively claim for visa costs that may have been paid before the launch of the scheme in January 2021 or for second or further scheme costs that were paid before the scheme changes made in September 2022.
  8. The scheme is not applicable to students, volunteers, contractors or agency staff and is only applicable to all salaried employees of the University.

How to claim

Please complete the ISS Claim Form and send to your Department for approval. The form should then be sent to the HR Immigration team who will check the visa type is covered under the scheme and forward to the Payroll Expenses team for this to be paid.

Other forms of support

The Immigration Health Surcharge Loan scheme is another form of support for immigration related costs. Staff can make use of the loan scheme alongside Immigration Support Scheme.