Our business and corporate immigration experts advise a wide range of organisations, from multi-national corporations to local small businesses and start-ups.
Whether it’s long-term strategy or just a one-off immigration issue, our team can help. Some of the typical areas we advise businesses on include:
- Sponsor licence acquisition, maintenance, and compliance;
- Skilled Worker visas;
- Permitted activities for visitors; and
- Right to work checks.
- All non-British, non-Irish citizens need a visa to work in the UK.
- There are many different types of visa and many different methods of obtaining one. People may hold visas in their own right, or in connection with their family.
- Some visas allow unrestricted UK labour market access. Others limit or prohibit work entirely.
- If a worker already holds a valid UK visa with unrestricted work permission, any employer can freely employ them. In this scenario, the employer does not need to hold a sponsor licence and does not need to sponsor the worker.
Skilled Worker Visas
- Non-British, non-Irish candidates who do not have a UK visa will likely need to be sponsored in order to come to the UK to work. The UK’s flagship work-based visa is the Skilled Worker visa. This used to be known as a “Tier 2 (General)” visa, but was rebranded on 1 December 2020.
- For an individual to apply for a Skilled Worker visa, they must first be sponsored by a licensed employer.
- Skilled Worker applicants must be paid a minimum salary. Generally, this is £25,600 but the minimum can be lower for new entrants to the labour market or for certain roles.
- Skilled Worker applicants who are not citizens of a majority-English-speaking country must be able to demonstrate that their English language level is above a certain threshold. They can do this by taking an approved examination, or by providing evidence of a suitable degree.
- Not all job roles are eligible for sponsorship. The Home Office publishes a list of eligible occupations. It is vital to check that a role can be sponsored before proceeding further.
Sponsor Licence Application
- To sponsor a foreign candidate, an employer must first apply to the Home Office for a sponsor licence.
On average, it takes one to four weeks to prepare a sponsor licence application, then a further two to three weeks for a decision if you pay the Home Office for a priority service. If you do not opt for a priority service, the standard decision-making time is around eight weeks.
- After becoming licensed, the employer can assign a Certificate of Sponsorship to the candidate. It can take a further few weeks for the candidate to apply for a Skilled Worker visa, receive their visa decision, and arrive in the UK.
Without a licence, an immediate start for a new foreign candidate is simply not possible unless the candidate has some other independent right to work in the UK.
Having a licence in place ensures you can respond quickly to international recruitment needs. Even if you do not intend to recruit now, it is prudent to get a sponsor licence in place so you can act quickly in future when you identify an international candidate for a particular role.
Get in touch with our experts today:
Helping a prestigious sporting body obtain a sponsor licence to recruit a key strategic hire.
Video Game Company
Supporting a global video game company with multiple skilled worker visas.
Carrying out a sponsor licence audit and training session for a leading hospitality chain to ensure sponsor record-keeping duties were being complied with.