The restaurant sponsorship visa UK enables overseas chefs who are skilled in cooking to come to the UK and do their either long-term or short-term business. For this, the hospitality term is used, which means working in the UK’s restaurant or hotel or if you own a restaurant or hotel.

If you own or operate a restaurant or hotel in the UK, you might be able to hire talented chefs from other nations who are granted a long-term skilled worker visa. Whether your company is eligible for a sponsor license and the kind of chef you must recruit will determine this.

Apart from the extended skilled worker visa pathway, foreign chefs may additionally reside in the UK under a temporary worker visa or a Paid Permitted Engagement visa, which allows them to work in the country for a limited period of time (for example, to work at a Michelin-starred restaurant or as a “pop-up” restaurant).

Benefits of Restaurant Sponsorship Visa UK

  1.   Legal Employment in the UK: With a sponsored visa, you can legally work in the UK, ensuring compliance with immigration laws.
  2.   Job Security: Having a sponsored visa provides a level of job security, as your employment is tied to the sponsoring employer.
  3.   Access to Public Services: With a valid visa, you can access public services such as healthcare and education, similar to other residents in the UK.
  4.   Potential for Permanent Residency: Depending on the type of visa and your circumstances, there may be opportunities to transition to permanent residency in the future.
  5.   Networking and Career Development: Working in the UK can provide opportunities for networking, skill development, and career advancement within the restaurant industry.
  6.   Cultural Experience: Living and working in the UK offers a chance to experience a new culture and lifestyle.

Restaurant Sponsorship Visa UK for UK Business

When you are running a business and desire to hire skilled workers from overseas, it is compulsory for you to apply for or be granted a UK sponsorship licence from the Home Office.  Without a sponsorship licence you will not be allowed to recruit any overseas employees.

There are some requirements that are mandatory to get a sponsored licence that will fulfill your eligibility. After that Home Office will allow you to run your business with skilled workers so have a look at the following requirements:

  1.   Your company is based in the UK and operates legally.
  2.   Your company has put in place the structures and procedures required for monitoring and handling your sponsored employees and stopping them from working illegally in the UK.
  3.   There are actual openings in your company for qualified positions.
  4.   You don’t have any pending penalties for crimes involving immigration or other offenses (such as money laundering or forgery).
  5.   In the past 12 months, UKVI has not withdrawn (i.e., cancelled) your sponsor license.
  6.   There is no risk to immigration control from your company’s activities.

You can then hire foreign employees for suitable roles and award them with a Certificate of Sponsorship (UK CoS) once you obtain a sponsor licence. The CoS will then allow the international worker to submit an application for a visa to work in the UK as a restaurant operator.

Restaurant Sponsorship Visa UK for Applicants

With restaurant sponsorship visa UK any international worker can be hired who you think can fit the requirements and has the eligibility to work in your hospitality business. This section includes a list of allowed roles as well as the standard occupation code’ (SOC code). The SOC code for chefs is 5434, which encompasses the approved responsibilities of:

Apart from the above mentioned roles other roles also include under the list of eligibility occupation, which includes catering and bar manager for which the SOC will be 5436. Once UKVI has issued your restaurant or hotel a sponsor licence and you have provided a job to a foreign chef, they are required to file for a Skilled Worker visa prior to they are permitted to travel to the UK. A chef Skilled Worker visa application must meet the following requirements:

You must have a qualifying job (per the above list of qualifying roles)

Process to Apply for Restaurant Sponsorship Visa UK

If you owns a restaurant or hotel in the UK and you want to recruit employers/chefs from overseas, for you there are two major stages that you need to pass through and they are:

  1.   Apply for sponsor licence
  2.   Apply for restaurant sponsor visa UK

Apply for Sponsor Licence

It is the part of the sponsor licence process a UKVI enforcement officer will pay a pre-licence visit to your hospitality hours in order to check your working place. Also, this is to make sure your hospitality company is prepared to fulfill the requirements of its sponsor license (i.e. recording, monitoring, and reporting).

Mostly the application process takes up 8 weeks within which the UKVI properly check your work and get satisfied that you are fulfilling all the sponsor licence requirements. There is another possibility that you have to pay extra charges of £500 within ten working days, for a crucial decision that is expedited.

Apply for Restaurant Sponsor Visa UK

You must provide your new chef with a Certificate of Sponsorship (UK CoS) via the Home Office’s online sponsor management system (SMS) before they can submit an application for a visa. After obtaining the CoS, they must:

Long-term chef and skilled worker visa applications may take up to three weeks to process if they are submitted abroad in the UK, or eight weeks if they are submitted from within. If your new chef’s visa is approved, they may reside in the UK for a maximum of five years. After that, they can apply for residence and permanent settlement one year later.


What types of visas are available for working in the UK’s restaurant industry?

The most common work visas include the Tier 2 (General) visa, which is for skilled workers with a job offer from a UK employer. There may also be other categories, such as the Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Creative and Sporting) visa, for temporary roles.

Can a restaurant sponsor a foreign worker for a UK visa?

Yes, UK employers, including restaurants, can sponsor foreign workers under certain visa categories. The employer must be a licensed sponsor, and the employee must meet the eligibility criteria for the specific visa category.

What are the eligibility requirements for a Tier 2 (General) visa?

Typically, applicants need to have a job offer from a UK employer with a valid sponsorship license, prove their knowledge of English, and meet specific salary and skill level requirements.

How does the sponsorship process work for a Tier 2 visa?

The employer must obtain a sponsorship license, issue a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to the employee, and the employee must then apply for the visa. The application process involves providing relevant documentation and paying the necessary fees.

Are there any specific requirements for a restaurant to become a licensed sponsor?

Yes, employers, including restaurants, must meet certain criteria and responsibilities to become a licensed sponsor. This may include ensuring compliance with immigration laws, record-keeping, and reporting duties.

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