External Examiners - Postgraduate ResearchRight to Work in the UK/Eligibility checks

The University is obliged to verify the “right to work” of any person appointed to undertake work here. This is set out in the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006.

This includes external examiners of all nationalities. This is irrespective of the nature or length of the employment. Or the fact that the individual may already be employed by another Higher Education Institution.

The Department/School that nominates the External Examiner must ensure that all checks have been carried out. This must be done before an individual undertakes work for the University.

Please refer to Establishing the Right to Work in the UK: Guidance for Undertaken Duty Claims (pdf).

Eligibility checks

UK/European Economic Area (EEA) Nationals & Non-EEA Nationals currently employed in the UK or the EEA

The following checks should be carried out when employing:

  • a UK national
  • an EEA national
  • a non-EEA national currently employed in the UK or EEA (for example someone working in another Higher Education Institution (HEI) within the UK), in which case a copy of their passport and their visa should be taken

When undertaking eligibility to work check for an external examiner, the host department should:

  • check that the presented documentation is original, genuine in appearance, and on the list of accepted documents. Refer to the employers guide to right to work checks from the Home Office.
  • check the document(s) in the presence of the holder
  • ensure that a full copy of the document(s) is taken (for passports this includes: any page featuring personal details, pages with endorsements and expiry dates)
  • for audit purposes it’s important that the individual verifying the documentation certifies the following “I (insert name) certify that this is a true copy of the original document”. They should then print their name, position, signature, contact details and date on each page.
  • keep copies of the document(s) and store them securely until an Undertaken Duties form (fee claim form) has been completed. Both should be uploaded to the Supplementary Payments System. Once this has been done successfully, paper copies should be retained only for as long as strictly necessary. They must then be destroyed as confidential waste. This is in accordance with Data Protection legislation.

Non-EEA nationals not currently working in the UK or the EEA

If the external examiner attending the viva is a Non-EEA National not currently working in the UK or the EEA - the activity is classed as a Permitted Paid Engagement undertaken by a Business Visitor from out with the EEA.

Although the “Right to Work in the UK” checks are not required for these individuals, departments are advised to obtain a copy of the appointment letter. And any other documentation that may be relevant to the process of engaging the individual, such as a copy of the individual’s passport.

Activity outwith the UK or off campus

In the case of research awards, where an oral examination is not mandatory and the external examiner is not required to attend the University, the following rules apply.

Outwith the UK

If the activity (examination of the thesis) is undertaken out with the UK by a non-UK national, the individual is exempt from HMRC regulations. The activity is classed as a Permitted Paid Engagement

Off-campus but within the UK

If the activity (examination of the thesis) is undertaken off campus but within the UK, by a UK or EEA national, the same Right to Work in the UK checks must be carried out by the host department.

If the external examiner is unable to attend the University to enable the checks to be carried out in person, their original documentation must be submitted by Royal Mail Special Delivery. After which, verification of the individual’s identity and documentation needs to be carried out by the host department. This can be done via a live, clear video call (for example, Skype or Facetime). The cost of Royal Mail Special Delivery is recoverable by submitting an expense claim, along with the original receipt. See information on fees & expenses.

The University is unable to pay the examination fee if eligibility documentation is not provided.