Postgraduate Research Examinations - Frequently Asked Questions Postgraduate Research Examinations - Frequently Asked Questions

Right to Work Checks for External Examiners (Research Degree Candidates)

What are Right to Work Checks and why are they being done?

The UK Government requires Right to Work Checks to be conducted for all individuals who carry out work for the University. This includes External Examiners appointed by the University to conduct oral examinations (vivas) for research degree candidates. These are the checks that you may have been asked to complete or may have seen completed as part of the recruitment process. It is mandatory for these checks to be completed for all examiners.

The process that has been agreed is:

  • External Examiners will be asked by the PGR Service to provide a photocopy or scan of their Right to Work documents
  • They will also be asked to bring the original documents plus a copy with them on the day of the examination for checking prior to the examination taking place.


Do all parts of the University conduct such checks?

Yes. Right to Work Checks for External Examiners have been introduced across the University for both taught and research courses.


Does the External Examiner have to provide their documents if they already work in the UK?

Yes.  Right to Work Checks are a mandatory legal requirement.  Therefore the University must check the documents of all our Examiners regardless of where they work or their nationality.


Who will be asked to conduct the Right to Work Checks?

The University’s Postgraduate Research Executive has decided that, in simple cases, Internal Examiners or Independent Chairs will be asked to conduct the final check in person. This is to ensure that External Examiners are inconvenienced as little as possible, as they will not have to visit a Postgraduate Research Service office prior to the examination.

To facilitate this, as mentioned above, External Examiners will be asked to bring their original documents plus a copy to the viva for checking.

For complex checks, for example where the External Examiner has a visa, or where the Internal Examiner is not a UEA employee, the Internal Examiner will be asked to bring the External Examiner to the relevant Postgraduate Research Service office prior to the examination.  Postgraduate Research Service staff will then conduct the Right to Work Check and the Visa Check.


Will External Examiners be expecting to be asked for their documents?

Yes we believe that many will. The requirement to prove that somebody has the right to work in the UK is a legal obligation and Universities should now all ask Examiners for right to work documents to be provided, which are then checked. 


As an Internal Examiner, how do I conduct a Right to Work Check?

HR Guidance is available from the Postgraduate Research Service and will be sent to you as part of the information memo.


What if the External Examiner does not have the originals at the viva?

Please contact your PGR Service office for advice. We will liaise with HR. It is important that you contact PGR prior to the examination.


What if there is concern that the Examiner has the right to work?

Please contact your PGR Service office for advice. They will liaise with HR.  It is important that you contact PGR prior to the Examination.


Do all External Examiners have to provide documents?

Yes, all External Examiners will have to provide documents.  Internal Examiners will be covered by the Right to Work Checks conducted as part of their original employment.


Do we have to conduct these checks for a viva undertaken by videoconference?

That depends on the location of the External Examiner at the time of the Examination.

If the external examiner is not in the United Kingdom and does not intend to enter the United Kingdom, a Right to Work Check does not need to be conducted.  (However, University Rules on viva examinations by videoconferencing must be followed).

If the external examiner is in the United Kingdom, a Right to Work Check must be conducted. This can be done via courier and a videoconference document check prior to the examination.  Please contact the Postgraduate Research Service for further guidance in this instance.


What is the process for the appointment of a non-EEA External Examiner?

The UEA HR Department will provide bespoke advice and guidance on visa arrangements on an individual basis. 


What about examinations that take place away from the Norwich Research Park, but in the UK?

Right to Work Checks must still take place for examinations away from Norwich.