Guide

Ensure your workers are eligible to work in the UK

UK visa sponsorship requirements for employers

You might need a sponsor licence to employ someone from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland to work for you.

How to get a sponsor licence

1. Check your business is eligible.
2. Choose the type of licence you want to apply for - this will depend on what type of worker you want to sponsor eg Tier 2 skilled workers with long-term job offers, Tier 5 skilled temporary workers.
3. Decide who will manage sponsorship within your business.
4. Apply online and pay the fee.

If your application is successful you will be given a licence rating which will be valid for four years.

UK visa sponsorship for employers.

Immigration skills charge

You might have to pay an additional charge for each foreign worker you employ. This is called the immigration skills charge.

You must pay this when you sponsor a migrant to work for you under Tier 2 of the Points Based System.

How much you pay is based on the size of your organisation and how long the worker will work for you.

Period Small or charitable sponsors Medium or large sponsors
First 12 months £364 £1,000
Each additional 6 months £182 £500


You must also offer a minimum salary of £30,000 per year or the appropriate rate - whichever is higher.

Employer responsibilities for UK visa sponsorships

Employers have a number of responsibilities that they must adhere to when sponsoring someone under a UK visa. You must check, and have proof, that foreign workers have the necessary skills, qualifications or professional accreditation to do their job.

Employers must also inform the UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) if your sponsored worker is not complying with the conditions of their visa. You must also inform UKVI of any significant changes to your business such as ceasing trade or are involved in a merger or take-over.

See more on employer responsibilities for UK visa sponsorship.

Important: The UK has left the EU and there is now a transition period until the end of 2020. This information is still current but could change. Any changes will be documented here. For more information, see Brexit support for employers.

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