If you are considering immigrating to the United Kingdom for work or business purposes, depending on what visa you are applying for, you may need to be sponsored by your employer. “How can I get sponsorship for a UK visa?”, and “Is it easy to get sponsorship in the UK?” are therefore two of the more commonly asked questions wondered by those who are pursuing UK immigration. In addition to these questions, today’s blog will present the answers to some of the most common FAQs about UK visa sponsorship, including, “What are certificates of sponsorship?”, “How much does visa sponsorship cost for UK immigration?”, and “Can anyone sponsor me to the UK?”. You can find the answers to all of these questions, in addition to many more, below. 

Who can sponsor me to live in the UK?

  • The question “Who can sponsor me to live in the UK?” depends on what kind of visa you are applying for. Keep in mind that not all UK visas require you to receive sponsorship in order to live in the country. 
  • Visa sponsorship is mainly relevant for sponsored UK business visas and education visas. If you are pursuing a UK business visa involving sponsorship, you must be sponsored by the specific company you intend to come work for. What this means is, this company must grant you a certificate of sponsorship in order for you to apply for your visa.  
  • Keep in mind that your sponsorship licence is (partially) what grants you the right to be employed by the specific company you are working for. Being sponsored by a company does not, therefore, give you the right to live in the UK. 

How can I get sponsorship for a UK visa?

  • In order to get sponsorship for a UK business visa, you should first figure out whether you in fact need to be sponsored for the visa you are pursuing. For example, if you are applying for an Investor visa to the UK, you will not need to receive sponsorship. However, if you are applying for a Skilled Worker visa, you will need to be sponsored. 
  • Put simply, you are granted sponsorship by your future UK employer, who provides you with a certificate of sponsorship, which you need to apply for your visa to the UK. Therefore, in order to get sponsorship, you must first get a job offer from a UK company that is empowered to grant sponsor licences (and therefore certificates of sponsorship). 
  • For help finding a job in the UK capable of granting you sponsorship, contact us here

Can anyone sponsor me to the UK?

  • Not just anyone can sponsor you to work in the UK. Your sponsor must meet specific eligibility requirements and be empowered to grant certificates of sponsorship in order to be an acceptable sponsor under the terms of UK immigration.  
  • For help figuring out whether your sponsor is eligible (to sponsor you), contact us here

Can I get a UK work visa without sponsorship?

  • If you are thinking of immigrating to the UK for the purpose of business, you may be worrying, “Can I get a UK work visa without sponsorship?”
  • Happily, not all UK business visas require sponsorship. For example, if you are applying for a Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa, you will not have to pursue sponsorship.

How much does visa sponsorship cost to UK countries?

  • The cost of visa sponsorship to UK countries (England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales) is assumed by the employer, not the employee. This means that if you are immigrating to the UK for business, and you are pursuing a visa involving sponsorship, your employer (rather than you) is responsible for paying the visa sponsorship fee. 
  • The amount that your employer pays varies according to several factors (to be discussed below). 

What is a sponsor licence?

  • By now you are probably wondering, “What is a sponsor licence?” Don’t be confused, a “sponsor licence” is not the same thing as a “certificate of sponsorship” (to be discussed below). 
  • A sponsor licence is what a UK employer must obtain in order to hire a non-UK employee. As an employer, once you receive your sponsor licence, you will be empowered to grant said employees certificate of sponsorship, which they will need in order to apply for a UK work visa to come work for you. 
  • Not everyone can receive a sponsor licence—before you apply, you should confirm that you (and/or the business entity you represent/work for) meet the eligibility requirements. Keep in mind that people who have previously held and lost a sponsor licence, as well as those who have been convicted for immigration fraud (or had additional legal troubles) may be exempt. 
  • In addition, remember that different workers require different sponsor licenses. If you are looking to hire someone temporarily, you should pursue a Temporary Worker licence; if you need someone to work for you for the long term, you should pursue a “Worker licence”.

What are certificates of sponsorship?

  • A certificate of sponsorship is what a UK employer is required to obtain for every non-UK worker that he/she hires. 
  • A certificate of sponsorship is electronic in form (i.e. not a piece of paper), and contains an individual number. If you are a worker applying for a visa that requires sponsorship, you will need to input your certificate of sponsorship number on your UK visa application. 

What is the immigration skills charge?

  • The immigration skills charge is an extra cost levied on certain applicants for Skilled Worker visas or Intra-company Transfer visas. 
  • As an employee, you are not liable for the immigration skills charge. This is a fee that is paid by your employer (i.e. the person who is granting you a certificate of sponsorship). 
  • The fee varies depending on the duration of your employment period and how large the company you are working for is. However, most employers pay a one-time fee of either £364 or £1,000 (depending on how big they are) and then £182 or £500, every six months onward.
  • Your employer will be responsible for paying the immigration skills charge in the event that you:
    • Are applying for either an Intra-company Transfer visa or a Skilled Worker visa from abroad (i.e. not from within Britain) and you are coming to the country to work there for a minimum of half a year. 
    • You are submitting an application while you are within the country. 
  • The following occupation codes are exempt from the immigration skills charge: 
    • chemical scientists (2111)
    • biological scientists and biochemists (2112)
    • physical scientists (2113)
    • social and humanities scientists (2114)
    • natural and social science professionals not elsewhere classified (2119)
    • research and development managers (2150)
    • higher education teaching professionals (2311)
    • clergy (2444)
    • sports players (3441)
    • sports coaches, instructors or officials (3442)

Is it easy to get sponsorship in the UK?

  • Yes! If you follow the correct procedures and meet the requirements, the process for obtaining sponsorship in the UK is relatively easy. 
  • Contact us here for individualized guidance on how to get sponsorship in the UK. 

Please note that the above information relates mainly to UK business visas. For information on receiving sponsorship for an education visa to the UK, contact us here.

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