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Visa Sponsorship Information Guide

With the world opening up once again and companies looking to hire, ViewHR has collated the key points and costs implication when considering employing someone to work for you from outside the UK.

In order to sponsor a skilled worker your business must have an appropriate sponsorship licence:

  • Employers must prove they are a genuine organisation operating lawfully in the UK to apply for a sponsorship licence.
  • You have to show you are aware of and capable of carrying out your visa sponsorship duties, with the appropriate HR and recruitment systems and practices in place.
  • Your key personnel as named on your sponsor application must be honest, dependable and reliable. The Home Office will conduct background checks to verify their eligibility for the roles.
  • If you are applying for a skilled worker sponsorship licence you will also have to show you are offering genuine employment that meets the required skill level and appropriate rates of pay.
  • To make the application, you complete an online licence application and provide supporting documentation to meet the necessary evidentiary requirements within 5 days of the initial application.
  • The organisation may then be subject to a compliance visit from UKVI, who will assess whether or not to grant the sponsorship licence.
  • Sponsorship licence applications typically take 8 weeks to process, or around 12 weeks if a pre-licence compliance visit is made.
  • If the organisation comes within the Companies Act definition of a small business or is a charity, they will pay the small company application fee, which is £536.
  • You can pay for an expedited sponsorship licence for an additional £500. Under the new Sponsor Licence Application Priority Service, licence applications will be decided in ten working days.
  • Also payable by the employer when the Certificate of Sponsorship is issued is the Immigration Skills Charge. Small businesses pay £364 and this is an annual fee.

Once you have the licence the employee can apply for the Skilled Worker Visa:

  • For skilled workers and their sponsors, with so much at stake, it is important to seek legal advice to understand the migration options available and that the Skilled Worker visa is the correct route.
  • The visa is open to individuals who attain 70 points by meeting specific requirements such as skill and salary level, English language ability and having a qualifying job offer from a UK sponsor.
  • To sponsor individuals under the Skilled Worker visa route (formerly the Tier 2 visa), employers must ensure the role they are offering meets the visa conditions. For example, that the role is at the required skilled level and pays the relevant minimum salary.
  • To help the Home Office determine if a role meets the visa requirements, jobs that are eligible under the Skilled Worker or Intra-Company Transfer route are listed by occupation code within Appendix Skilled Worker of the Immigration Rules.
  • To apply for a Skilled Worker visa, the applicant will need to submit an online application, together with their supporting documentation, and pay the relevant fee. They will also need to provide their biometric information at the visa processing centre local to them, either overseas or in the UK.
  • Applications can be made up to 3 months before the day the worker’s intended employment start date in the UK, as stated on the Certificate of Sponsorship.
  • It normally takes 4 weeks to process an application.
  • Skilled Worker Visa, where a certificate of sponsorship has been issued for three years or less – main applicant and dependants – £704
  • Skilled Worker Visa, where a certificate of sponsorship has been issued for over three years – main applicant and dependants – £1,408
  • The immigration health surcharge cost in 2021 is £624 per year (this is payable by the employee by some employers cover this bill)

If you have any questions about visa sponsorship or need assistance with recruiting and onboarding staff, then please get in touch with ViewHR today.