Guidance on Visa Reimbursement/Loan Scheme
The Visa Reimbursement / Loan Scheme forms part of an enhanced relocation provision under the School’s People Strategy and is designed to assist recruitment and retention by helping current and prospective non-UK staff and their dependants with the costs of a Skilled Worker visa and specific associated costs. The School will pay visa application costs (only) for all sponsored staff and prospective Academic staff. In exceptional circumstances, SOAS may agree to pay for Professional Services staff where it is justifiable to secure them from outside the UK.
All other associated costs (including NHS Surcharge costs, English Language tests and TB tests where relevant) for the individual and any dependants will be subject to an interest free loan of up to £10,000 to be re-paid in instalments over the duration of the contract in the case of individuals on a Fixed Term Contract (of less than 2 years) and over a 3-year maximum period for permanent staff.
Sponsored employees will be required to make a commitment to remain at SOAS for 3 years after they have been sponsored or pay back the costs of the visa on a prorata basis if they leave before then.
The Scheme is open to all non-UK School employees who:
- Are making an application for a Skilled Worker visa sponsored by the SOAS University of London, and/or a dependant visa/visas for their family members, subject to their eligibility within the Immigration Rules (as defined within section SW 26 of the Immigration Rules) and either
- Have received a written offer of a School role and have confirmed their acceptance in writing,
- Have an existing contract of employment with the School.
However, employees will be unable to take out a visa loan in the following circumstances:
Where the loan would be required for any other visa type, or immigration application (such as Indefinite Leave to Remain, Citizenship or a visa for another country);
- If the employee has a contract of less than 12 months at the point that the loan is applied for.
- If they have served their notice of resignation to the School;
- If they have received notice of dismissal;
- If they are subject to disciplinary proceedings which may result in dismissal;
- If they have previously been declared bankrupt.
Eligible employees may apply to receive a loan of up to £10,000 for costs associated with making a Skilled Worker visa application and/or a points-based dependant visa application(s). Costs are limited to the following:
- Visa application fees for dependants
- Immigration Health Surcharge fees
- Priority/Super Priority processing fees
- Fees associated with meeting the English language requirements for the Skilled Worker visa (including the UK NARIC service or approved English language tests )
- Biometric Enrolment fees
The loan cannot be used for any other means, including for any other cost associated with making the visa application, such as legal fees. Employees cannot hold loans from the School which exceed a total of £10,000 across any and all loan schemes, such as the Season Ticket Travel Loan Scheme, operated by the School.
For a loan totalling £3,000 or less, the repayment schedule will take place over 10 months. Other loans can be repaid over a longer period as stated above. The School will decide at its absolute discretion whether or not to grant a loan to an employee and whether or not the full amount of the loan requested will be provided. Each application will undergo a credit worthiness assessment to determine affordability. In exceptional circumstances, this may include a credit check. The School has a loan calculator that allows the employee to check whether their net monthly pay will cover the monthly repayments for the loan amount they have requested. A copy of the loan calculator is attached.
A loan application form will be sent by the Recruitment Team to the employee via email at the same time that they are assigned their Certificate of Sponsorship. Where they are a new employee, the process will be managed by the Recruitment Team (email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Where the employee has already commenced employment and wishes to take out a loan (subject to eligibility, as above), the loan application form can be obtained from the HR Operations Team upon request (email: email@example.com)
The HR Operations Team will review the application, carry out relevant checks and process the application normally within 5 working days. The team will endeavour to inform the employee of the decision within this timeframe.
If the application is successful, the HR Operations Team will send the loan documentation to the employee. Once the employee has read the documentation and they have decided that they wish to proceed, they must return the signed documents to the HR Operations Team. Upon receipt, the HR Operations Team will notify the Payroll & Pensions Team and the Finance Department who will endeavour to make payment of the loan into the employee’s bank account within the next 5 working days. The employee must provide copies of UKVI receipts for payments as part of their visa application(s) to the Recruitment or HR Operations team within 10 working days of payment being made to UKVI.
The operation of this scheme will be reviewed after 2 years of operation by the HR Operations Team and Finance Division. For any clarification of the scheme, please contact the HR Operations Team by email firstname.lastname@example.org
Application Form and Calculator