UK Visa Sponsorship For Employers
What Is A UK Visa Sponsorship For Employers ?
Businesses, charities etc in the UK require a sponsors licence if they wish to employ people from outside the EEA and Switzerland to work for them in the UK. ‘Employ’ refers to both paid and unpaid (charitable) work. Note that sponsoring someone is not a guarantee that they’ll be granted a visa to come to the UK or to stay in the UK.
UK Visa Sponsorship For Employers – Getting A Sponsor’s Licence
To get a sponsors licence you must:
- Check that your business is eligible
- Select which licence is most applicable for the type of worker you wish to sponsor
- Nominate someone within your organization to manage the sponsorship
- Ensure you have the appropriate personnel management and human resource systems in place to manage sponsored workers
- Apply and pay the fees – contact us for advice and help with your application
Note – UKVI may pay your business a visit to make sure it’s suitable.
UK Visa Sponsorship For Employers – After Applying
UK Visa Sponsorship For Employers – Length Of Sponsors Licence
Sponsor licences are valid for 4 years. During that time you must ensure that you meet your responsibilities as a sponsor. There is more information about these responsibilities here.
UK Visa Sponsorship For Employers – Unrestricted certificates
A certificate of sponsorship is not a paper document or an actual certificate. It is an electronic record with a unique reference number that holds information about the job and the worker’s personal details.
- You will need to issue a certificate of sponsorship for every foreign worker you employ.
- The sponsored worker must use this reference number when they apply for their visa to come to the UK.
- Certificates of sponsorship are only valid for 3 months from the date they’re issued.
UK Visa Sponsorship For Employers – Types Of Licences
The 2 Tiers of workers that require certificates of sponsorship are:
- Tier 2 – skilled workers with long-term job offers
- Tier 5 – skilled temporary workers
Which type of worker you want to hire will determine which type of licence you need to apply for. You can also apply for a licence covering both.
Tier 2 is for skilled workers that are being employed long-term or permanently. There are currently 4 categories of Tier 2 workers:
- General – the role must meet the job suitabilityrequirements
- Intra-Company Transfer – for multinational companies which need to transfer employees to the UK
- Minister of Religion – for people coming to work for a religious organisation (for up to 3 years)
- Sportsperson – for elite sportspeople and coaches who will be based in the UK
Tier 5 is for skilled workers that are being employed on a temporary basis. There are currently 5 categories of Tier 5 workers:
- Creative and Sporting – to work as a
- sportsperson (up to 1 year),
- entertainer or artist (up to 2 years)
- Charity Worker – for unpaid workers (up to 1 year)
- Religious Worker – for those doing preaching, pastoral and non-pastoral work (2 years)
- Government Authorised Exchange –
- work experience (1 year),
- research projects or training, eg practical medical or scientific training (2 years) to enable a short-term exchange of knowledge
- International Agreement – where the worker is coming to do a job which is covered by international law, eg employees of overseas governments
UK Visa Sponsorship For Employers – What Does It Cost
How much you’ll pay the Home Office for your sponsors licence depends on what type of worker you want to sponsor and what type of organization you are. There is more information about licence fees here.
The cost of certificates of sponsorship also depends on the class of worker and where they’re from. There is more information about certificate fees here.
UK Visa Sponsorship For Employers – Responsibilities
As a licensed sponsor you have a number of important responsibilities. You are required to:
- Ensure that your foreign workers have the required qualifications, skills or professional accreditations to do the jobs you’re sponsoring them to do. You must keep copies of documents verifying this.
- Ensure that you only allocate certificates of sponsorship to workers for jobs that are suited to sponsorship
- Inform UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) if your sponsored workers fail to comply with their visa conditions
- Get a Disclosure and Barring Service checkon any of your workers who need it.
UK Visa Sponsorship For Employers – Monitoring Sponsored Employees
You must have HR systems in place that allow you to:
- Keep copies of relevant documentsfor each employee, including passport and right to work information
- Monitor your employees’ immigration status
- Keep employee contact details up to date
- Track and record employees’ attendance
- Report to UKVI if there is a problem, eg your employee stops coming to work
UK Visa Sponsorship For Employers – Changes To Your Business
If there are any important changes in your own circumstances you must notify UKVI within 20 working days of the change. This includes situations such as:
- You stop trading or become insolvent
- You significantly change the nature of your business
- You are involved in a merger or take-over
- You are changing your details, ie address or allocated roles.
UK Visa Sponsorship For Employers – Sponsoring Children Under-18
If you are employing foreign workers under 18 you have a duty of care to ensure there are suitable care arrangements in place for their:
- Travel to the UK
- Arrival in the UK
- Living arrangements in the UK
You must also get a letter from their parents giving consent to the care arrangements.
UK Visa Sponsorship For Employers – Sponsoring Children Under 16
You must get a licence from the local education authority in the area where the child will work.