There are a number of considerations which need to be taken in to account for Global Mobility assignments. Click on the sections below for more information.
Tax and Social Security Liability (payroll)
The requirement for an employee to pay income tax or make social security contributions in the overseas location will depend on local legislation in the country concerned and the terms of any tax/social security treaties in place between the overseas country and the employee’s country of origin.
The employee is fully responsible for ensuring their tax liabilities are settled, whether in the UK, the overseas location or both. This doesn’t therefore represent an additional cost to the Institution. However, the University may need to register as an employer or establish an overseas payroll to facilitate the payments, which may incur a cost.
As tax and social security regimes and arrangements vary significantly from country to country, external advice will normally be required from a specialist firm to assess the University’s legal obligations. It should be noted that, this can be costly and may take time.
With regards to social security, if a liability is created, this will almost certainly require a contribution from the University (the employer’s contribution). This employer social security contribution could be in lieu of the UK national insurance contribution, or in addition to it. The overseas contribution may be higher than UK national insurance, resulting in an additional cost to the Institution, or be lower than UK national insurance, resulting in a salary saving.
Please note that overseas assignments can create a taxable presence for other taxes such as VAT and corporation tax through the creation of a Permanent Establishment (PE). This could lead to significant additional costs for the University and should therefore be avoided, unless the overseas assignment is of proven strategic importance. If there is a risk of creating a Permanent Establishment in the overseas location, this will be discussed with the relevant Institution before proceeding any further.
Visas and Work Permits
If an employee who holds a visa which allows them to work in the UK (for example, a Tier 1, 2 or Tier 5 visa), intends to leave the UK in order to undertake an overseas assignment, the HR Compliance Team must be notified as soon as possible. The University is required by law to inform the Home Office of any changes to work location within 10 days of the change taking place. Failure to notify the authorities could have serious repercussions for the University and may affect the employee’s right to work status in the UK and ability to secure any future visa extension or renewal.
The HR56 form does not provide any guidance on visa/work permit applications/requirements in the overseas location. The employee and Institution will need to establish these requirements, either through communication with the relevant embassy or by engaging an external immigration agent.
The Institution is encouraged to fund the visa/work permit application cost, either through external funding or the Institution budget.
A copy of the employee’s right to work authorisation for the overseas location will need to be provided to the Global Mobility Co-ordinator.
An assessment will need to be undertaken to determine whether the employee can remain with their University pension scheme or, in the case of an overseas recruitment, if they are eligible to join the scheme.
It would normally be possible to remain in the USS scheme if the employee remains on the University’s UK payroll, continuing to pay UK tax and national insurance and will be returning to their substantive role in the UK. However, USS rules are dependent on the country in which the employee is working, so country-specific advice will be provided.
If the employee is not able to participate in the USS pension scheme, alternative options will be discussed, such as the option to participate in a scheme in the overseas location, via social security contributions.
In some countries, there may be a legal requirement for the employee to participate in a local pension scheme, instead of or in addition to any University pension scheme.
University Insurance Policies
In most cases, the University’s liability and other insurances will continue to cover any work that is undertaken for the University. However where the employee is under the care and control of another institution, through a Secondment Agreement, the Institution should ensure that Collaboration Agreement or Memorandum of Understanding confirms that the employee is covered by the receiving organisation’s insurance programme.
Where the overseas assignment involves human volunteer studies and clinical trials, the normal application for insurance should be submitted. Should legislation require additional local insurance be arranged, the cost for this will be charged to the Institution.
In some instances, there may be a legal requirement for the employer to arrange local medical insurance or contribute to government schemes (such as accident or workers insurance). Insurance is often arranged via payroll and/or social security and tax contributions in the overseas location, where there would normally be an employee and employer contribution. However, if medical or work place insurance needs to be arranged through an alternative provider, the Insurance section or the employee may be able to organise this through a local broker. Any local policies arranged through a broker will incur costs and the annual premium and annual broker placement fee would be chargeable to the Institution.
Where the employee completing the overseas assignment has clinical responsibilities, they will need to notify the Clinical Director at the relevant NHS Trust and discuss the impact of their absence from clinical duties to ensure that cover arrangements are put in place and their job plan is updated accordingly.
If the employee is in receipt of excellence awards (local or national), these may cease if they are not performing their clinical duties for a significant period of time. The employee is responsible for informing the relevant awarding body and should inform the Clinical School HR team if an award should cease either in full or in part.
If an employee is under Health Surveillance with Occupational Health prior to the overseas assignment, or the work to be carried out during the overseas assignment will require Health Surveillance, the Department must notify Occupational Health and ensure that the processes as detailed in the Health Surveillance Policy and Guidance are followed.
If the overseas assignment involves clinical work in the assignment country, further paperwork and authorisation may be required. In certain cases, a license to practice medicine within the assignment country will be required.
It may be necessary to engage employment lawyers who have expertise in employment legislation in the overseas location to ensure that the employee’s contract of employment and other contractual documentation are compliant with employment law in the overseas location. There may be certain statutory requirements which need to be met, for example minimum requirements for maternity or sickness, working hours etc. It is especially important when placing staff on an overseas assignment, to understand the termination arrangements that could be instigated by either the University or the employee.
- The manager should ensure that the employee has read the Global Mobility Policy, Global Mobility Guidance: Employee Guide and that they have completed the Overseas Travel and Work Checklist within that guidance.
- The manager should ensure that the employee arranges their travel through the University’s preferred travel provider, Key Travel, who have a 24 hour emergency helpline available for the employee’s use.
- The manager should ensure that the employee has arranged University Group Business Travel Insurance to cover their travel to and from the overseas location. Please note that Travel Insurance will not cover regular cross border travel between countries (commuting) with a few exceptions e.g. CERN.
- The University’s Travel Insurance is not a substitute for health or private medical insurance which the manager should advise the employee to obtain, ensuring that it is valid in the assignment country and that it includes repatriation.
- The Departmental Administrator should hold copies of the employee’s passport, travel itinerary and any specific medical needs so that the Institution can act quickly and efficiently in the event of an emergency. Administrators receiving such information should hold it securely whilst the employee is overseas, destroying it on their return to protect the employee’s personal data.
- The manager should prepare an emergency protocol with the employee confirming what actions will be taken and by whom in certain emergency situations and complete the necessary risk assessment with them.
- If the employee is under or will require Health Surveillance, Occupational Health should be notified of any overseas working pattern.
- If the employee or any member of their accompanying family is pregnant or becomes pregnant whilst working overseas, the manager will need to explore the following aspects in discussion with the employee, seeking further expert advice as appropriate through their HR Schools Team:
The implications and regulations for immigration and nationality in the event that a child is born overseas;
The nature of the pre- and post-natal and medical facilities in the overseas location, compared with the UK;
Proximity to other family members during and after confinement;
The implications for tax residency should the employee return to the UK earlier than expected, or remain overseas longer than originally planned;
The maternity benefits available in the overseas location, compared with the UK. Please note that the employee might not qualify for Maternity pay or benefits in the overseas location, and may no longer qualify for Statutory Maternity Pay from the UK. Each case will need to be assessed to confirm eligibility.