How to Get a UK Visa Sponsorship for Employers - A Quick and Easy Guide

When planning your business operations in the UK, it is essential to consider the immigration implications. Even though immigration laws have become more favorable in recent years, there are still some hurdles you have to clear before being able to start working or opening a business here. To ensure that your new operations in the UK are legal and adhere to all applicable rules, it is advisable to consider sponsorship from an international company. This article will provide information on how to get a UK visa sponsorship for employers, which types of support are available, and how much it will cost.

How to Get a UK Visa Sponsorship for Employers - A Quick and Easy Guide

When you think of the world, do you ever really think about what country it is? You probably believe just about only about one country at a time. But, when you look at the big picture, there are many countries with which to work. The choice is yours: you can work worldwide with an active visa program for foreign workers. Moreover, most countries have visa programs designed to accommodate prospective employees abroad. This article takes you through the basics of getting a UK visa sponsorship from your employer. It doesn't matter whether you're applying for a regular job visa or an employment-based visa; this article explains everything you need to know.

An authorization giving UK employers the ability to grant Certificates of Sponsorship to foreign nationals who enter the country on work visas is a UK Visa Sponsorship for Employers. Those looking for a sponsor employer must possess the necessary training, experience, and abilities for the job that qualifies for sponsorship.

If a UK employer wants to employ foreign nationals, they must sponsor their application for a visa by providing a certificate of sponsorship for employment. An employer may only support a foreign worker for five years.
A Certificate of Sponsorship assures UK authorities that the UK employer will assume the essential responsibilities and obligations for the sponsored employee's actions during their employment with the company. Its primary purpose is to support the visa application of foreign workers, but it also serves this purpose.

A Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) is what, exactly?

The certificates of sponsorship (CoS) are electronic records with a specific number assigned for each foreign employee instead of ordinary paper paperwork. This number must be used by the employee in conjunction with several other application papers when applying for a work visa, and it cannot be utilized more than three months from the date of issuance.

What is a UK visa sponsorship?

A UK visa sponsorship is the act of your employer agreeing to sponsor you for a UK visa. Your employer will issue a special employment visa to allow you to work in the UK. The sponsorship agreement is usually written in English and must include your salary requirements and the country you will work in. The deal is generally valid for 12 months and can be renewed every 12 months. The visa validates three years when your employer must maintain your contract. If you are not re-employed after that, you will have to leave the country with no right to return.

Who is eligible for a Certificate of Sponsorship for employment in the UK?

Any foreign national who meets the requirements for a job in Tier 2 or Tier 5 of the point-based system is qualified to find a sponsor employer in the UK.

Workers with skill levels 2:

People with a job offer in a skilled employment post or a position on the shortage list that cannot be filled by settled or EEA workers are considered Tier 2 General.

Tier 2 Intra-company transfer: 

Foreign employees of multinational corporations are willing to either take a job that cannot be filled by settled or EEA citizens or enroll in a training program at the company's UK office.


Foreigners with a job offer as an elite athlete or coach in the UK who are well-known worldwide and whose involvement would benefit the further growth of the UK sports industry are considered Tier 2 Sportspersons.

    Tier 2 Minister of religion – foreigners with a job offer for a position in a faith community as a minister of religion, engage in preaching and pastoral activities, missionaries or are members of religious orders.

Tier 5 temporary workers:

  •     Creative and sporting: foreigners with a job offer for a position that lasts up to 1 year as a sportsperson or lasting up to 2 years for a job as an entertainer or artist
  •     Charity worker: foreigners with a job offer for a voluntary position lasting up to 1 year
  •     Religious worker: foreigners with a job offer lasting up to 2 years as a preacher, pastor or non-pastor
  •     Government-authorized exchange: foreigners with a job offer lasting up to 1 year for work experience or two years for attending training or research projects for exchange purposes.
  •     International agreement: foreigners have a short-term position covered by international law – i.e., a position as foreign government staff or as a private servant in a diplomatic household

How to get a UK visa sponsorship

All you have to do is ask your employer to sponsor you for a UK visa. By law, you can't directly ask an employer for a permit. You have to go through your HR department or human resources manager. It's good practice to call the office first to find out who you should ask. You can also check with your HR manager if you don't know the answer to a question. If you have any questions or concerns about the process, you can always contact the support team.

Who is eligible to sponsor foreign workers?

Almost any UK employer is allowed to hire foreign workers for their business. However, they must be accredited to provide Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS). An employer must first get the sponsor license, which must be appropriate for the position they will be filling with foreign workers, before issuing a CoS.

Only those employers that can manage the essential requirements, conditions, and procedures defined for the UK employment sponsorship have the legal right to sponsor the employment of foreign staff members inside their organization.

What can be employment-based in a UK visa

Several several-based visas may be available on a sponsor's behalf. These depend on the type of employer you will be working for. There are employment-based visa programs specific to the following countries:

How do I obtain a CoS?

After receiving the login information for a licensed sponsor, the designated personnel of the sponsoring employer must use Sponsorship Management System (SMS) to build a CoS. (following the successful application for the license).
The sponsor must fill all required fields in the system with the relevant data on the sponsored foreign employer. Identity information, passport details, current residence, identity numbers, place of employment, dates of employment, home address in the UK, employment as a migrant, labor market test results, and other information requested in the online form are all the details that must be provided.

There is a fee to be paid by the sponsoring employer for assigning a certificate of sponsorship as in the following:

  •     Tier 2 CoS – £199
  •     Tier 5 CoS – £21

    Accessible to nationals of Turkey, Croatia, and North Macedonia

Another fee known as the “Immigration Skills Charge” is applicable when it comes to issuing Tier 2 (General) and Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) CoS. The fee needs to be paid latest ten days from assigning the CoS; otherwise, the workers' visa will be canceled.

Things to know before you apply for a UK visa

Before applying for a UK visa, getting yourself up to speed with the basics of applying for a visa is essential. - The UK has a unique employment visa called the Tier 1 (skilled) visa. This visa is extremely limited in availability and is only issued to the most highly skilled workers. - When applying for a Tier 1 visa, you must be able to speak English, French, Spanish or German. - The salary requirement for a Tier 1 visa is higher than for a regular job visa. A Tier 1 salary must be at least £45,000 per year. - You must show that you have the necessary language skills to make a smooth transition to the new job. This means having a basic understanding of computers, the internet, and basic math. - The website has information on the different visa types, requirements, and applications. - When applying for a visa, it is strongly recommended that you have an experienced immigration lawyer on hand.

What are the Types of CoS?

Depending on the job a foreign employee will be performing in their business, the employer must require a sponsor license to issue certificates of sponsorship for either Tier 2 – skilled workers with long-term contracts or Tier 5 – temporary workers with short-term.

When the employer applies for the license, they have to estimate the number of CoS they are attentive to issue in the first year of the permit.

For specific jobs, employers are restricted regarding the number of CoS allowed to assign each month. These are known as restricted certificates. While some jobs have no limitation on the number of CoS employers can assign, these are free certificates.


Restricted certificates are issued in the following categories:

  1.     Tier 2 (General) out of the UK, with a salary offer under £159,600/year
  2.     Dependants of Tier 4 foreigners willing to switch to a Tier 2 visa

Apply for a UK Visa

You're ready to apply for a UK visa if you have all the information and documents required for the application process. First, you'll need to fill out an application form. - The form can be done online or in person at an NZ Visa Pre-Application Centre. - The form must provide all the information you need for the application process. - The form can be completed and submitted online or in person at an NZ Visa Pre-Application Centre. - When applying for a visa, it is strongly recommended that you have an experienced immigration lawyer on hand.

How to apply for a Sponsoring Licence?

Briefly said, the organization can assign CoS and support a foreign employee to come and work with them in the UK if the following conditions are met:

  1.     have open job positions suitable for sponsorship,
  2.     prove that their organization is an eligible business,
  3.     successfully apply for and receive the appropriate sponsor license,
  4.     demonstrate having the necessary staff and capacity to administrate the sponsorship process properly

UK employers have to undergo the following steps in applying to get a sponsor license:

  •     Complete, sign, and send the online application form for the sponsor license
  •     Pay the application fee
  •     Send the supporting documents to show you are located in the UK
  •     Show documents that prove to be an eligible and suitable business/organization
  •     Send planning permission or local planning authority consent to operate the type of business at your trading address (if required)
  •     Offer the registration certificate with the food authority (if being a food business)
  •     During the application, the tiers, categories, and subcategories under which the employer wishes to be licensed must be chosen to get the appropriate sponsor license

Table of fees involved in the application for a sponsor license

Premium sponsor scheme – Tiers 2 & 5 (significant sponsor)


Premium sponsor scheme – Tiers 2 & 5 (minor sponsor)


Premium sponsor scheme – Tiers 2 & 5 (important sponsor) for a period of 3 months


Premium sponsor scheme – Tiers 2 & 5 (minor sponsor) for a period of 3 months


Premium Change of Circumstances


Tier 2 large sponsor license (may also include Tier 4 and Tier 5)


Tier two small sponsor license (may also have Tier 4 and Tier 5)


Tier five sponsor license


Add Tier 2 to an existing Tier 4 &/or Tier 5 license (significant sponsor)


Sponsor action plan


Tier 2 Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS)


Tier 5 Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS)


What is considered a job suitable for sponsorship?

Job suitability means a UK employer's position for a foreign national worker meets the proposed salary and the skills required.

This is because, for every category, there is a criterion for sponsorship, as in the following:

  • Tier 2 (General) and Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) – must reach level 6 and higher of the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF)
  • Ballet dancers, other dancers, film and TV performers, theatre and opera performers, film and TV workers

The sponsor has to take the procedure known as “the resident labor market test” in some cases to ensure that the job position that the foreign worker can occupy the job position that either local or EEA nationals cannot fill.

The case includes Tier 2 (General), Tier 2 (Minister of Religion), or Tier 5 (Religious Workers) important positions only, excluding chances when living within a religious order (such as a monk or nun), as well as for Tier 5 (Creative and Sporting) in the creative and entertainment sector.

The test means advertising the job position in a minimum of job advertising mediums for 28 days.

An immigration skills charge is what?

The sponsoring employer must pay the immigration skills charge when appointing CoS for foreign nationals in Tier 2 (General) and Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) categories.

A fee will be assessed if the individuals above anticipate landing a job that will keep them abroad for six months or more. At the same time, the cost will be payable regardless of the length of the employment duration if the foreigner is already in the UK.

If the sponsor wants to allocate a CoS to any of the following instances, they are exempt from paying this fee:

  • A foreigner with Tier 4 (General) student about to switch to a Tier 2 (General)
  • A foreigner already having a Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) Graduate Trainee
  • A foreigner who is about to get a job within the Ph.D. level of the SOC code
  • Dependants of the worker that the sponsor wishes to assign CoS for

The fee depends on the size of  the employer and the length of the contract with the sponsored foreign worker, but the general price is presented below:

  • the First year / small or charitable employers – £364
  • First year/medium or large employers – £1,000
  • Every further half-year / small or charitable employers – £182
  • Every further half-year/medium or large employers – £500
  • For persons working less than a year and more than half-year – £364 or £1,000

Who cannot be sponsored to work in the UK?

Employers are not allowed to sponsor the following:

  • Persons aged below 18 for the category of Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme), Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – International Agreement) for a job as a private servant in a diplomatic household or the household of an international organization
  • Persons aged below 16 for any Tier 2 category


Working in the UK can be an excellent opportunity to make a career change and travel the world. Getting a UK visa sponsorship can be tedious, but it's ultimately worth it.

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