Overseas working

A number of University staff undertake work overseas on a short-term and long-term basis throughout their employment with the University. There are a host of practical issues that require consideration prior to deploying or hiring staff to work outside the UK. The issues that need to be considered will depend on a number of factors, including:

  • the type of work being undertaken
  • where the work will be based
  • the employee’s normal country of residence
  • the length of any such engagement

Purpose and scope

This guidance should be read in conjunction with the Finance Division’s guidance on overseas working which sets out the authorisations process and tax, social security and other essential information. This applies to new and existing staff working overseas.

The purpose of this guidance is to ensure that all University staff who work overseas are treated fairly and consistently and that managers are aware of all the considerations they must undertake when considering employing new staff or sending existing staff overseas.

The guidance is split into two main sections, as follows:

  1. considerations for new or existing UK-based employees undertaking work overseas
  2. considerations for the employment of staff who are permanently based overseas, for example staff who work and whose place of residence is outside the UK for the duration of their employment with the University

The guidance provides information for managers and departmental administrators on the practical areas that should be considered. It should be read in conjunction with the Finance Division’s policy on overseas working  which includes financial issues, and which should be addressed early in the process in order to minimise any potential problems and unnecessary expense for the University and the employee. In particular, it is important that the employees’ health and safety, and other employment-related matters are effectively managed.

Arrangements for employing staff overseas can be complex and therefore it is important that advice from the relevant specialist section, such as the Global Mobility Manager, Payroll team, Legal Services Office, Occupational Health, Pensions team or the Insurance team, is sought as early as possible to ensure that any specific considerations can be identified and acted upon in good time.

This guidance does not cover business taxes. Working overseas can range from individuals or small groups to more formal arrangements, with written agreements and joint working with other parties. UK VAT can be an issue for funding any overseas operations, and the more formal arrangements can give rise to a variety of other business tax and compliance issues such as billing, imports/exports, tax clearance certificates and local taxes. Please refer to the Taxation web pages for further information.