Relocation Scheme Arrangements - Guide for new starters

How it works

The relocation allowance is intended to cover the move of one household. You will need to discuss with your department whether you can be offered an allowance, and what amount would be offered.

To be eligible, you need to be moving from more than 25 miles away from Oxford to within 25 miles of Oxford (defined as the Bodleian Library, Broad Street, OX1 3BG). Relocation allowances will not normally be paid for local moves.

Your department will confirm the amount of relocation allowance that you have been awarded, and any specific restrictions on the allowance. Once it has been awarded, you can arrange your move:

  • The University's preferred suppliers can assist with UK and international moves (see below). The University will pay these directly.
  • You will need to pay any other costs yourself, and reclaim it via expenses.


The relocation allowance applies to the removal of personal effects only and does not cover the removal of office or lab items (this should be discussed separately with your department).

Relocation allowances should be used to pay for:

  • Removal of household effects (non-work related) - necessary costs associated with moving from a main residence only;
  • Travelling expenses - a single journey from the place of previous residence to Oxford for you, your spouse or partner, and dependent children; and
  • Professional expenses - professional fees in relation to the sale or purchase of a property. 

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The Scheme includes:

One household move only

A maximum of 26 weeks storage

For overseas appointees, insurance for goods in transit to Oxford to a normal maximum value of £100,000 (specific approval must be sought for a higher sum

The scheme does not normally cover the cost of the following items:





Separate removal of individual items

Removal of motor vehicles, livestock or pets

Import of personal wine/alcohol

In exceptional circumstances the University will pay for airline chargeable weight to be transported separately from the main household shipment. Any air freight costs will be deducted from the approved allowance


The Scheme includes:



The costs of one single journey to the UK for you, your spouse or partner, and dependent children



If a return fare is cheaper and has therefore been purchased, a full refund will only be given if the return leg of the ticket is submitted unused with the claim. If the return ticket is not surrendered then only a 50% reimbursement can be claimed. In the case of e-tickets, a declaration must be made that the return journey will not be used



In the UK, the cost of the initial journey for a single car can be covered at the normal mileage rate





The Scheme includes:










Solicitors' fees in respect of sale and purchase

Stamp duty

Land registry fees

Valuation fees

Registration fees

Search, survey and property enquiry fees


Mortgage arrangement/redemption fees

Estate agents' buying/selling fees or advertising costs

The scheme does not normally cover the cost of the following items:






Redirection of mail

House cleaning on sale or purchase

Financial advice, e.g. mortgage broker

Refundable deposits on rented accommodation

Engagement of professional cleaners before moving into a vacant rented property



The following costs need to be specifically agreed with your department for inclusion in your relocation allowance:

  • Letting agents’ administration fees including TRACC fee – (Tenancy agreement, References, Application, Check in and Checkout)
  • Professional cleaners when leaving a rental property where it is required under the contractual rental agreement.


The University has arrangements with two suppliers to assist with UK and international moves. Once your allowance has been agreed, you can contact these for a removal quotation:

Email Robinsons:

Email Sterling Lexicon:

The suppliers will arrange to carry out a visual survey, after which they will email their quotes to you. If you accept one of the quotes, the supplier will request that an acceptance form is completed, to include the name of the authorised person in the department to whom the invoice should be sent.

You may decide to use a different removal company. In this case, you will need to pay the removal company and seek reimbursement of these expenses through the expense claim process.

Where it is not possible for the department to pay directly on your behalf you should claim reimbursement for any costs incurred via the expenses process.

When claiming these expenses, the expense type ‘Relocation’ should be selected.

You should always contact your department prior to incurring relocation expenses and no reimbursement of expenses should be made until the department or division has approved the amount of the relocation allowance.

If you have been financially disadvantaged over and above the allowances available by moving their home to Oxford, you may apply for a long term loan up to a maximum of £10,000. This is repayable over a maximum 10 year period or the length of your contract if shorter. Repayment of the loan will be made via deduction from your salary on a monthly basis.

Any loan must be agreed by the department. Please contact your departmental administration team in the first instance.

Please note that all existing University provided loans greater than £10,000 are regarded by HMRC as an employee benefit which will be declared to the tax office each year on a P11D and will be subject to income tax where applicable.

There is a tax free allowance of £8,000. To qualify, the allowance must be spent by the end of the tax year (5 April) following the one you start your new appointment.  For example:

  • For an appointment starting on 3 February 2022, spend should be incurred by 5 April 2023. 
  • For an appointment starting on 6 April 2022, spend should be incurred by 5 April 2024.

If the relocation allowance exceeds £8,000, income tax is due on the excess, and you will need to include it on your tax return.

If you are relocating from overseas and are not UK-domiciled, additional tax relief may be available on travel costs. Further details are available on request.

The University Welcome Service has a wealth of information covering all the practicalities you might be considering before, during, and after your move, plus information to help you to settle in as quickly as possible.

If you resign (or are dismissed) prior to the completion of three years' service, the department may request repayment of the proportion of the relocation allowance by which the period of actual employment falls short of three years.

For example if you have received a relocation allowance of £3,000 and have completed 24 service months, you could be asked to repay £3,000 – (£3,000/ 36 x 24) = £1,000.

If appropriate, any repayment due will be reclaimed via deductions from remaining salary payments.

Please note this condition applies universally: applicants to the scheme who have an initial contract period of less than three years may also be requested to repay a proportion if they leave prior to the end of the three year period (i.e. in accordance with their initial contract term, or without extension to three years or beyond).

Claim expenses


Contact us

 : Payroll Office
      Finance Division
      University of Oxford
      23-38 Hythe Bridge Street

      Oxford, OX1 2ET

 : 01865 (6) 16145

      Head of Payroll and Pensions

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