Non-European citizen wanting to work full-time in the UK need their visa to be sponsored by the employer. Most employers from medium, small companies, and startups, share the impression that the sponsorship is impossible to get. This negative perception is a missed opportunity for both UK employers and foreign employees.
Here below is a check list for you and your company to help navigate the UK immigration sponsorship system (the costs and work involved). It will clear out the misconceptions that prevents your company from hiring you and other migrants that qualify the requirements.
Congratulations you have been offered a job in the UK!
And you need a UK visa: quickly figure out if you fit the UK work Visa requirements by answering these five simple questions:
- The job has to qualify under the profile:
– Is the salary meeting the minimum requirement? The UKVI has a minimum salary requirement for different jobs (and they won’t accept one cent below!). It is around 22K minimum overall as of April 2014. Below that, the job is likely not fitting to be granting you a tier 2 visa.
– Does the job description matches the job advertised? Your job has to match a SOC code set by the UKVI and describing the role.
– Can you prove you qualify for the job? I assume most of you reading this are highly skilled individuals with a NFQ 6 level qualification at least. Check the list here if your profile meets the skill level needed.
– Does the company have to pass the resident labour market test? Some jobs are on the list of jobs in shortage, that is a list of jobs available in the UK for foreigners to take because there is a shortage of UK locals to fill them. If your job is on that list, your employer will not need to advertise the job position for 8 weeks before applying for the licence. Also, if you are a graduate student, you most likely will not need to pass the test but do check if you need to because this criteria varies and changes throughout the years.
- The company has to commit financially
– Is your company ready to cover the costs? Count between 515£ for small companies or £1545 for bigger + external costs of gathering documents
Applying to the sponsorship licence: who’s in charge?
Who is going to prepare the application?
I would strongly recommend an immigration lawyer for all the pitfalls associated with that visa application but, your call. Know that solicitor advice costs range from £1,200 GB for very small law firms to £2,000-£4,000 GB for top firms. If you send the wrong paper, or your documents are not certified the right way, likely your sponsorship application will be refused. On top of this, there is no right to appeal if your application gets refused. You just have to do it all over again (if you have time…). Consider this wisely before going ahead applying on by yourself without the help of a solicitor.
Ready? Steady? Go!
Once you have checked this, all that is left, is to convince your employer to let your solicitor or yourself handle the application process.
Most likely, if you go for a lawyer, you are in safe hands. If you go doing it yourself, your employer might admire the pro-active move but again know it is at your own risks. The more kick-ass at collecting the right documents, detailed oriented mind and knowledge in filing administrative papers, the better for you to choose that cheap option. Schedule down that it will take 4 to 8 weeks and perhaps more time to get a decision on your sponsorship application. If you have a big law firm with you, most probably your application will get reviewed faster.
The time to collect all documents can take a bit of time (a week or two) but it is not that difficult (just a hassle) and expect some documents to need to be certified because you can’t get or you don’t want to lose the originals. Thus, prepare for extra costs for a lawyer or someone who can certify documents.
Now that you are aware of the requirements, the costs and timeline, read how to applying to the tier 2 sponsorship licence: A step by step guide for employees and employees (part 2)
***** DISCLAIMER *******
This post is about how an employee can contribute to help his/her company apply and get a UK sponsorship licence to sponsor their visa. It is based on experience and immigration rules of as of last October 2013. Every effort is made to make sure the accuracy of the information provided. However, no guarantee or representation is given that the information and materials contained in it are complete or free from errors or inaccuracies and any information is not to be looked upon as advice from Migreat. Always read the UK Border Agency policy guidance, the Immigration Rules and our Para-legal Content to find information about all the requirements you must meet. You can find links to this information at Migreat and The UK Border Agency.
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