If you are a businessperson in the UK who is looking to hire a non-UK employee, you will likely have to sponsor him or her in order for them to come and work for you in Britain. UK visa sponsorship for employers(i.e. sponsoring a foreigner) involves more than simply procuring a certificate of sponsorship for the person you wish to hire—in order to begin issuing certificates, the UK Visa sponsorship process necessitates that a would-be UK employer first apply for a sponsor licence. If they apply for a sponsor licence and are granted one, they might then begin to award certificates for UK visa sponsorship for employers who are foreigners who they wish to work for them in the country. In addition, employers who receive this certificate must also monitor sponsored employees (i.e. keep track of their respective standing in the UK). However, not all foreign employees can be sponsored—would-be workers must meet certain conditions in order to be eligible under the terms of UK immigration. Specifically, the person you wish to hire must be looking to fill a position that is described as having a “suitable rate of pay and skill level” as defined by UK immigration rules. Today’s blog will therefore provide an overview of the UK visa sponsorship process—specifically, job suitability for UK visa sponsorship in the context of having to monitor sponsored employees.

Background to visa requirements

  • There are multiple different types of visas foreigners can apply for in order to come and work in the UK. Each visa has a specific set of conditions and Worker licence visa requirements that an applicant must fulfill in order to be eligible for a specific visa. 
  • One example of a requirement relates to age (for example, the UK Child Student visa requires that an applicant be between the ages of four and eleven years old in order to be eligible to apply for that visa). 
  • In addition to age, many UK visas (including Worker licences, study visas, and other types) have financial requirements. For example, if you are applying for a UK Start-Up visa, you will be asked to provide evidence that you possess a minimum amount of funds (in this case, £1,270) in order to be considered eligible to apply.  
  • Another extremely common requirement for UK visas pertains to the English language. The majority of UK visas (particularly those relating to business or employment) require that applicants demonstrate a degree of English-language fluency (in the context of reading, writing, and listening). For example, if you are applying for the UK Innovator visa, you will need to provide evidence that your English language fluency meets (or exceeds) the B2 level on the CEFR-Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.

Job suitability for UK visas

  • As you can see from the above, different UK visas have different requirements relating to age, finances, and English language speaking abilities. 
  • In addition to the above requirements, different UK visas have different salary and skill level requirements for would-be applicants—particularly if an applicant is being officially “sponsored” by a would-be UK employer. 
  • As mentioned above, certain visas require that applicants obtain sponsorship from the company/person they are trying to work for in the UK, as a condition of applying. However, in order to be eligible for sponsorship, the foreigner must be applying to fill a position that meets the salary and skill level requirement established for that specific visa. In essence, when you apply for a specific visa, you will need to be applying to do a job that is “suitable” for you in terms of salary and skill (as established by the eligibility requirements for that specific visa). 
  • For example, if you are applying for a Skilled Worker visa, the employment position you seek to fill must have a minimum salary requirement of either £25,600 annually, £10.10 an hour, or whatever is described as the typical payment for that position (depending on what amounts to the most money).  
  • In addition to salary suitability, applicants for sponsored visas must also meet the skillset requirement. This means that the job they are applying for must require a certain level of skill in order to perform, and that the applicant’s skill level is equal to what the position asks. 
  • For example, the T5 Temporary Worker Licence visa (Creative and Sporting) has specific suitability requirements for each job contained within it. An employer who is looking to sponsor a foreign Ballerina for a T5 Temporary Worker Licence visa must therefore have a position open for a dancer who is described as internationally known and as having danced for the exact same ballet outside of the UK. The sponsor must therefore supply proof of this status (i.e. proof of the dancer’s job suitability for this particular role). 
  • Please note that there are additional requirements for sporting workers regarding job suitability for UK visa sponsorship. Additional requirements for sporting workers include receiving a written endorsement sent directly via the correct official entity. 

For additional requirements for sporting workers and for a full list of requirements for the Worker visa, contact us here.

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