Human Resources

Approval Process

This section explains what managers must do to secure approval for a new recruit or existing member of staff to work abroad for an extended period of time, generally for more than one month in a 12 month period.

Working and employing staff abroad is a complex and costly matter.  It is not without risk - and cost - to both the individual staff member and the University. Consequently, approval to work outside the UK will only be granted in limited circumstances and by the staff member’s Head of College or Professional Services Group.

Approval Criteria

Recruiting/line managers will need to first secure the agreement of either their Head of School/Deanery (College) or Department (Professional Services Group) that the following criteria are met to proceed to the assessment from the Working Abroad team.

The completed assessment must then be shared with the Head of College or Professional Services Group to seek approval to base an individual abroad. This process must be complete before the individual starts working abroad.


a) working in a specified country or countries is:
  • an express requirement/condition of a research project
  • a requirement expressed in a Memorandum of Understanding with a partner institution
  • core to and fundamental to the effective delivery of an individual’s role (including but not limited to fieldwork, conferences and sabbatical visits)
b) specific, specialist knowledge and/or skill-sets are required and recruiting managers have thoroughly exhausted all efforts to:
  • source these skills within the UK (including via third parties (e.g. specialist agencies, contractors, partners) or outsourcing), or
  • attract and support international recruits to relocate to the UK.


In exceptional circumstances, a short, temporary period of overseas working may be granted on compassionate grounds. Where this is the case, the manager should discuss this with their local HR Partner.