Taking the next step to expand a business often includes hiring the right people to help you achieve your goals and reach new horizons.
Many companies are now searching further afield to recruit the very best people by hiring highly skilled workers from around the world. The UK Home Office has set up multiple visa schemes to allow UK-based organisations to grow by finding the best talent that the world has to offer.
Since the UK has left the EU, more and more companies are having to apply for sponsor licences to employ both EU and international workers.
At The Nathanson Partnership, we understand the struggles that companies are facing when trying to get their heads around Brexit and employing foreign workers.
If you are looking to expand your business, but you do not know where to start when making a sponsor licence application, speak to one of our business immigration experts. We offer a free initial assessment to advise on whether you will be eligible for a sponsor licence and what you need to do next.
Updated: February 2023
What Is a UK Sponsor Licence?
A sponsor licence is approval from the Home Office that you can hire foreign workers from outside of the UK to do a suitable role within your company. Since Brexit, if you want to hire EU workers, you must also have a sponsor licence to do so.
It is important to note that you will not need a sponsor licence to employ EU nationals who were residing in the UK before 31 December 2020, including qualifying family members, who are registered with the EU Settlement Scheme.
Similarly, Irish citizens, people with pre-settled or settled EU status and people with indefinite leave to remain in the UK will not need to be sponsored to legally work for you.
Which Workers Can I Hire With a Sponsor Licence?
Generally speaking, you can apply for a sponsor licence to employ the following workers:
You can hire skilled workers under the Skilled Worker visa to do skilled roles within your company providing the job is eligible. An eligible job is one that is on the Home Office list of occupations and codes. There must be a genuine need for a skilled worker within your company that a local or settled person cannot fill.
Health and Care Workers
Health and care workers can be hired through the Health and Care Worker visa to do an eligible medical role within the NHS, with an NHS supplier or in adult social care. Workers must be qualified doctors, nurses, and health or adult social care professionals. The job must be in one of these occupations to be eligible for this type of visa.
Global Business Mobility Workers
The Global Business Mobility visa is made up of five different routes. Generally, they are temporary working routes for individual business purposes. Each route requires applicants to have worked for their overseas employer for a certain period of time and are needed to undergo work in a linked UK company.
The Global Business Mobility routes include the following:
Senior or Specialist Worker route: This is for senior managers and specialist workers. This visa has replaced the Tier 2 ICT visa.
Graduate Trainee route: This is for people doing a graduate training course that will lead to a senior management or specialist role and as part of the course, must do a UK work placement.
UK Expansion Worker route: This is for workers that are needed to help build a business that has not started trading yet.
Service Supplier route: This is for individuals providing contractor services, self-employed professionals or service providers that are covered by an international trade agreement.
Secondment Worker route: This is for workers who need to be seconded to the UK to work on high-value contracts or investments.
Temporary workers can include those who are needed for short-term contracts. For example,
seasonal workers can do seasonal work for up to 6 months such as fruit picking or poultry work.
Scale-up workers are highly talented individuals who are needed to help grow and expand a fast-growing business. You must have an eligible scale-up business to be able to hire scale-up workers.