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What is considered the day I “voluntarily leave” the company? The day I give the notice or the day I actually leave the company?

Background is I have a payback agreement with my current employer that says:

Should you voluntarily leave the company before the completion of 18 months of service from your visa issue date, you shall reimburse the company all visa cost.

I have 8-week notice period and, to avoid paying the visa cost, I’m wondering whether:

  1. I should give the notice where my last day will be outside of that 18-month notice period, or
  2. I should give the notice after the 18-month period ends.
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    You will have to ask your company about that as they are the only ones who can realistically know, we would be guessing. – Tymoteusz Paul Sep 5 at 8:35
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    This will depend very heavily on the country your visa is for. What country are you in? Also, consider finding a local law resource where you can ask this question. In the countries I've lived in there are often free services you can use to find out how to start. – Player One Sep 5 at 8:54
  • @PlayerOne thank you, I'm in the UK, I'll see if I can find some free legal advice here. – learn.d Sep 5 at 9:28
  • Not sure how useful the citizens advice bureau is in the UK, but in New Zealand it's helped me a lot. – Player One Sep 5 at 9:58
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    @TymoteuszPaul The meaning of words is not up to individual employers. – Acccumulation Sep 6 at 1:48
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What is considered the day I “voluntarily leave” the company? The day I give the notice or the day I actually leave the company?

It has nothing to do with when you give your notice. For purposes of a payback agreement, it depends on your last day on the job.

So give your notice whenever you like. Make sure your last day of work is more than 18 months after your visa issue date.

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    I would make sure there was 18 months of SERVICE after the visa was issued. If the OP received the visa but didn’t start working for a month that might be interpreted as requiring payback after working 17 months. – jmoreno Sep 5 at 15:31
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Should you voluntarily leave the company before the completion of 18 months of service from your visa issue date, you shall reimburse the company all visa cost.

The time at which you "voluntarily leave" is the time that you leave. If you continue working after delivering your notice, then you haven't left yet. The language is pretty clear, and even if it weren't, any ambiguity would be resolved in your favor (ambiguities are resolved in favor of the party that didn't write the contract, which I assume was you, and if the contract wasn't clear, then there wasn't a meeting of minds, and so it isn't binding).

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Take Joe Strazerre's answer first. Then consider your company. Would they be willing to cheat you out of money even if it is illegal, or try to? If you give notice before the 18 months then they could demand the money from you, even though it is totally unjustified. And they could deduct it from your salary, which is illegal, but that doesn't stop some people. And suddenly you have a major fight on your hand.

So if your company is one that might do that kind of thing then give notice after the 18 months are over to avoid problems. And anyway, don't finish your job after 18 months and one day, to avoid misinterpretations. At least 18 months and a week. Just to be safe.

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