Moving to Northern Ireland

Immigration | Financial | Accommodation | Families | Healthcare | Culture & the Local Vicinity | Transport | Safety

The information on this page has been prepared to support staff and their dependants when relocating to Northern Ireland. A helpful Relocation Checklist is also available to assist staff when relocating highlighting tasks that should be completed before moving and those that should be actioned on arrival.  

All employees must prove their eligibility to live and work in the UK before starting work with Queen's. If you are offered a job you will be advised, when you receive your appointment pack, what documentation you are required to provide as proof of your eligibility to live and work in the UK.


Note: If you are a non-EU/EEA/Swiss national you should not travel to Belfast via the Republic of Ireland unless your visa permits travel in the Republic.  As there is no border control between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland you may not meet with any immigration officers and cannot activate your visa on entry to the UK.  Failure to activate your visa may cause complications with your visa and potentially with your employment.

Non EU Staff - Non EU staff require a visa to live and work in the UK. UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) controls immigration to the UK from outside the EU. There are a range of visa types which permit work in the UK to find out what type of visa you require visit the UKVI website.

Tier 1 – If you’ve been endorsed as an internationally recognised leader or emerging leader in your field in science, humanities, engineering, medicine, digital technology or the arts you are able to apply for a visa in your own right.  For details of how to apply see Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa.

Tier 2 - If you do not hold a visa which permits work in the UK the University can sponsor you under Tier 2 of the points based system.  Under this system points are awarded for sponsorship, salary level, English language skills and maintenance funds.  The HR Business Partner dealing with your appointment will assist in obtaining a certificate of sponsorship for you and assigning it to you.  You can check your points level on the Points-based Calculator.  For details of how to apply see Tier 2 (General) visa.

Tier 4 – Most student visas permit work but will be subject to restrictions on work time limiting work to 20 hours during term time.

EU Nationals - European Economic Area (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Romania, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden) and Swiss nationals must provide documentary evidence of their right to live and work in the UK.  Acceptable documents include:

  • Passport;
  • National identity card or
  • Residence permit

Croatia – Croatian nationals remain subject to immigration restrictions and must provide a registration certificate (purple, blue or yellow) as evidence of their right to live and work in the UK unless they meet exemption criteria.   If you require a certificate the University can sponsor you.  The HR Business Partner dealing with your appointment will assist in obtaining a certificate of sponsorship for you and assigning it to you.  Details on how to apply are available at Working in the UK as a Croatian National.

Police Registration

If your entry clearance states that you are required to register with the police, you must do so within 7 days of your arrival in the United Kingdom. If you have dependents (partner, spouse or children) with you and their entry clearance has the same requirement, they must also register within 7 days. Children under the age of 16 do not need to register with the police. When you are registering with the Police you will need the following:

  • two passport sized photographs
  • a letter confirming your employment
  • your passport
  • registration fee (a cash payment of approximately £34)

Contact Constable Fiona James (028 9065 0222 extension 22168) to arrange an appointment to complete your Police Registration.



Moving to a new country can be expensive and setting up new financial arrangements complex. The following information covers the financial essentials that you will need to consider. Queen's is not able to offer financial advice or guidance.  It is recommended you seek your own independent Financial Advice. The following websites may useful: USS - Maximising your pension, Unbiased, Money Advice Service.

Relocation Expenses

New staff moving to Queen’s from outside Northern Ireland may be eligible for Relocation Expenses depending on their contract. Eligibility requirements are outlined in the Relocation Expenses Policy.

Expense Amount - If you are a permanent member of staff, who meets the eligibility requirements, you can claim £1,000 plus 20% of the basic annual starting salary or £2,000 plus 20% of basic annual starting salary. If you are a temporary member of staff, who meets the eligibility requirements, the amount that you can claim will range from 5% to 20% of basic annual starting salary depending on length of your appointment.

Expenditure - Allowable expenditure of Relocation Expenses includes: home removal, legal and professional fees associated with purchase of new or sale of old accommodation, transport of belongings, travel and subsistence relating to the relocation, temporary accommodation, purchase of domestic goods and visa fees. There are a number of items however, that are "ineligible" relocation expenses, details of which are available in the Relocation Expenses Policy.

Claims - Payment will be made only upon receipt of fully completed appropriate documentation (Relocation Expenses Claim Form) which is accompanied by valid receipts.  Payment will be processed in the monthly payroll only.  

If you have any queries relating to Relocation Expenses contact Ms Dympna Stewart, Tax Accountant

Salary Payment

Salaries are normally be paid on the last banking day of the month into your bank account. Visit the Salaries website for further information.

National Insurance Number  

To work in the UK you will require a National Insurance Number (NI No). If you do not have a National Insurance Number you will need to request one as soon as possible from the Social Security Agency (SSA).
Call 0345 600 0643 to make an appointment with the Social Security Agency to apply for your National Insurance Number. Note: the application process can only be started once you arrive at Queen’s.

Bank Account

Setting up a new bank account can be challenging and it is recommended that staff moving to work at Queen’s check with their existing bank to see if they have a relationship with a bank that has a presence in Northern Ireland to see if it can help you with setting up an account. It is recommended that you contact the bank and make an appointment to set up your account checking in advance what documentation is required to enable you to open an account. Typically the documents you need are outlined below:

  • Photographic ID
  • Evidence of your UK address (e.g. your tenancy agreement). Where you do not have this, the HR Business Partner assisting with your appointment can issue you with a letter for your chosen bank, to confirm your employment status etc. on request.
  • Proof of employment (e.g. your letter of appointment)

The main Northern Ireland Banks are situated close to the University, along University Road, and include: Ulster Bank (sponsors of the Festival at Queen's), Santander (located in the Students Union), Danske Bank and First Trust.


All staff have access to a generous occupational pension. The pension scheme to which you are eligible depends on your grade. Your employment contract will confirm which pension you are eligible to join.  New employees are automatically enrolled into the relevant pension scheme. Visit the Pensions website or contact the Pensions Office for more details

Information about the schemes is readily available from the pension’s team and appointments may be made for personal meetings by contacting Ciara Clearn, Pensions Assistant.

Employee Benefits

All staff have access to a range of Employee Benefits. The benefits are categorised under a number of key areas including: Pay and Reward, Work Life Balance, Employee Wellbeing and Staff Development. Full details are available here.



Queen’s Accommodation and Hospitality manage a range of self-contained apartments within easy walking distance of the University campus which are available for new staff members to rent.

Accessing Staff Accommodation - If you wish to avail of this accommodation you should contact Accommodation and Hospitality at Queen’s immediately on acceptance of your offer of employment. The apartments are let, subject to availability and failure to contact Accommodation could result in non-availability. Should Queen’s not have an apartment available, staff will help you find accommodation in the private sector around the University area. Full details are available here.


Family Life


In Northern Ireland Education is compulsory for all children between five and sixteen years of age and is normally free of charge. If you are moving to Queen’s with children of school age it is recommended you make arrangements before arriving as it can be challenging to find a place in a school at short notice. A list of schools in the Belfast area is available on the Belfast Education and Library Board website. You can search for schools by name or by entering your postal code to find a school near your accommodation.

Help and advice parents on a range of educational issues is available on the website of the Department of Education, Northern Ireland.

The Department for Education has developed a policy to support newcomer children whose first language is not English. You can access the policy here.
Childcare Facilities (Nursery, Crèche, Child-minder)

Similar to Schools it is difficult to find places at short notice.

University Facilities - The University has its own Childcare facilities available to staff and students. Demand for places is high and therefore it is strongly recommended that new employees make arrangements for childcare before moving to Queen’s.  Find out more about the Queen’s Childcare facilities here.

Local Facilities - Employees can use other childcare options outside the University details of which can be found here. A list of Child Minders is available here.

When you find a facility you would like your children to attend, telephone and make an appointment to discuss whether there are places available for your child/children and to confirm the details.



On arrival to Northern Ireland you should register with a local health centre where you will be assigned to a doctor. Use the Health and Social Care Service Finder to locate the closest centre to where you live.
Your doctor (also known as a General Practitioner (GP)) can treat most illnesses but may refer you to a hospital if you require tests or your medical condition is more serious. National Health Service (NHS) hospitals provide free healthcare. If you are involved in an accident or suddenly take ill, you may need to go to Accident and Emergency (A&E). The number to call for an ambulance is 999. The ambulance will take you to the A&E at the nearest hospital.

Hospitals - The nearest hospitals to the University are:

o    Belfast City Hospital NHS Trust 51, Lisburn Road Belfast BT9 7AB Telephone: 02890 329 241

o    Royal Victoria Hospital, Grosvenor Road Belfast, BT12 6BA Telephone: 028 9024 0503



Queen’s University is becoming an increasing diverse institution with staff and students from all over the world. Over 15% of our staff population come from outside Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. We value the contribution international staff and students make to the community campus and city life.

Belfast city is dynamic, diverse and unique. Belfast City Council recognises that culture, arts and heritage create wealth by supporting jobs, attracting visitors and increasing economic investment. The quality of life in Belfast is enhanced by creating a shared, welcoming and proud city. As a result the City Council has invested on average £1.35 million in culture each year to support approximately 75 organisations and over 100 programmes and projects. Visit the Belfast City Council website for more details.



Public Transport

Translink is Northern Ireland's integrated bus and rail public transport company. Visit their website for more details.
•    The Metro service operates buses in and around Belfast
•    The Ulsterbus service operates buses across Northern Ireland
•    NI Railways provides rail services across Northern Ireland


Driving rules and regulations vary from country to country therefore it important to take some time to read the Northern Ireland regulations on driving licences, car tax and registration and insurance responsibilities.

Driving Licence - A licence is required to drive in Northern Ireland. Depending on the country you come from there are different driving licence requirements, full details are available from the NI Direct website.

Registration and Car Tax - If you bring your vehicle with you from your home country, then you may do so for up to six months in any 12-month period provided that it is fully registered and tax paid in the country of registration. If you wish to keep your vehicle in the UK for over six months, you will need to register your vehicle in the UK by contacting the DVLNI.

Insurance - You must have at least Third Party Insurance if you wish to drive in the UK.

MOT - Vehicles must meet specific technical and safety requirements, and you will have to pay for UK registration. If the vehicle is more than four years old, you will need an M.O.T. certificate showing that the vehicle is roadworthy.



Personal safety is important and there is support and advice is available from Queen's Safety Service and the local Police Service (PSNI).

University Safety Service - The University Safety service provides advice on maintaining personal safety to staff and students. Access the guidance here.

Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI)  - Hopefully you will never be a victim of crime. However, it is worthwhile taking some time out and thinking about how you would act in different situations. Support and advice is provided on the Police Service of Northern Irelands (PSNI) website.

Hate Crime - Unite Against Hate (UAH) is a local campaign which provides information on how to report hate crime and also provides support for victims. It also enables various stakeholders to report on projects relating to hate crime, as well as to share research, information and good practice.