A sponsorship visa in the United Kingdom, also known as a Tier 2 (General) or Skilled Worker visa, allows skilled workers from outside the UK and the European Economic Area (EEA) to come to the UK for employment purposes. To obtain this type of visa, individuals must have a job offer from a UK-based employer who holds a valid Sponsorship License issued by the UK Home Office. Here’s an introduction to the key aspects of a sponsorship visa in the UK:
- Sponsorship License: Before an employer can hire a non-EEA skilled worker, they must apply for and obtain a Sponsorship License from the UK Home Office. This license allows them to sponsor foreign workers and issue Certificate of Sponsorship (COS) documents.
- Certificate of Sponsorship (COS): A COS is a unique reference number that the employer provides to the prospective employee. The COS contains information about the job, salary, and employer, and it’s a crucial document in the visa application process.
- Eligibility: To qualify for a Tier 2 (General) visa, applicants typically need to have a valid job offer in a skilled occupation from a licensed UK employer. The job offer must meet certain salary and skill level requirements. Additionally, applicants may need to demonstrate their proficiency in English and show they have enough funds to support themselves in the UK.
- Application Process: Applicants need to apply for the visa from their home country or a country where they have the legal right to reside. The application process includes submitting the online application form, attending a biometric appointment, and providing necessary documents, including the COS.
- Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS): In most cases, visa applicants are required to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge, which provides access to the National Health Service (NHS) during their stay in the UK.
- Length of Stay: The length of stay granted on a Tier 2 (General) visa depends on the job offer and can range from a few months to several years. It is possible to extend this visa and, in some cases, apply for settlement (indefinite leave to remain) in the UK.
- Dependents: Applicants can often bring their dependents (spouse, civil partner, or children under 18) with them to the UK on a dependent visa. They will need to show that they can support their dependents during their stay.
- Switching Jobs: If a sponsored worker wishes to change jobs or employers in the UK, they generally need to find a new employer with a valid Sponsorship License and obtain a new COS before making the switch.
- Salary Thresholds: There are specific salary thresholds and requirements for different types of jobs and regions within the UK. These requirements can change over time, so it’s essential to stay updated with the latest information.
- Compliance: Both employers and employees must adhere to the rules and regulations outlined in the Sponsorship License. Non-compliance can result in the revocation of the license or visa and potentially lead to legal consequences.
It’s crucial to consult the official UK Home Office website or seek legal advice from immigration experts when considering a sponsorship visa UK, as immigration rules and requirements can change over time, and individual circumstances may vary.
Requirement for Sponsorship Visa UK
To apply for a sponsorship visa in the UK, also known as a Tier 2 (General) or Skilled Worker visa, there are specific requirements that both the sponsoring employer and the visa applicant must meet. Here are the key requirements for each party:
For the Employer (Sponsoring Organization):
- Sponsorship License: The employer must hold a valid Sponsorship License issued by the UK Home Office. This license allows them to sponsor foreign workers. If they don’t have one, they need to apply for it.
- Genuine Job Offer: The employer must provide a genuine job offer to the applicant for a skilled position that meets the eligibility criteria. The job offer should also meet the minimum salary threshold for the specific occupation.
- Resident Labor Market Test: In most cases, the employer is requir to conduct a Resident Labor Market Test (RLMT) before offering the job to a non-EEA worker. This means advertising the job to the resident labor market to ensure there are no suitable candidates already available in the UK or EEA.
- Certificate of Sponsorship (COS): Once the RLMT (if required) is complete and the job offer is accept, the employer must issue a Certificate of Sponsorship (COS) to the prospective employee. The COS contains details about the job and the worker’s personal information.
- Sponsorship Responsibilities: The employer must agree to meet certain responsibilities, including reporting any significant changes in the worker’s employment status, ensuring the worker’s compliance with UK immigration laws, and maintaining accurate records.
For the Visa Applicant (Skilled Worker):
- Valid Job Offer: The applicant must have a valid job offer from a licensed UK employer that meets the skill and salary requirements for the specific occupation.
- Certificate of Sponsorship (COS): The applicant needs to have a valid COS issued by the sponsoring employer. The COS is essential for the visa application.
- English Language Proficiency: In most cases, applicants must demonstrate their English language proficiency. This can be done by passing an approv English language test or by having an academic qualification taught in English. Some applicants are exempt from this requirement, such as nationals of certain English-speaking countries.
- Maintenance Funds: Applicants may need to show that they have enough funds to support themselves and any dependents during their stay in the UK. The specific financial requirement can vary based on individual circumstances.
- Healthcare Surcharge: Applicants are generally required to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) to access healthcare services through the National Health Service (NHS) during their stay in the UK.
- Criminal Record Certificate: Some applicants may need to provide a criminal record certificate from their home country or countries they have lived in for the past 12 months.
- Tuberculosis (TB) Test: Depending on the applicant’s country of residence, a TB test may be required as part of the application process.
- Biometric Information: Applicants typically need to provide biometric information, such as fingerprints and a photograph, at a visa application center.
- Other Supporting Documents: Additional documents may be requir base on the applicant’s specific circumstances, so it’s essential to check the UK Home Office website for the most up-to-date requirements.
The application process for a sponsorship visa in the UK is quite detail, and it’s essential to ensure that all the necessary documents and requirements are met to have a successful application. Consulting with an immigration expert or legal advisor is advisable to navigate the process effectively.