Sponsorship license in the UK
In this article you will find information about the steps required to sponsor an employee from outside the EU and Switzerland.
There are two types of Tier 2 visas:
Tier 2 General - for a British employer who wants to hire a non-EU employee
Tier 2 Intra Company Transfer - for a foreign employer who wants to transfer an existing employee (who has worked abroad for at least 12 months or will receive a salary of at least £73,900 per year in the UK) to a branch in the UK.
* A Tier 2 Intra Company Transfer visa does not result in a right of permanent residence in the UK.
Step 1: Make sure that your company has a Tier 2 sponsorship licence and has not expired.
To sponsor employees who are not EU citizens, the company must apply for a sponsorship licence.
For a Tier 2 General license, the salary that will be offered for the sponsored role must be at least £30,000 per year or above the salary threshold in the SOC code that corresponds to the role in question. If your company does not have a sponsorship license, please note that it may take 3-4 months to purchase it.
A minimum salary of £41,500 per year is required to obtain a Tier 2 ICT license. The applicant must have worked abroad for at least 12 months. However, if the salary in the UK exceeds £73,900 per annum, then 12 months' employment abroad is not required.
Step 2: Determine the SOC code for the position and the minimum wage to be offered for the role.
Standard Professional Classification (SOC) is a method that governments use to classify jobs according to their names and activities. Each type of role is assigned a number.
The Ministry of the Interior uses it to determine the minimum wage rules for the various jobs. You will find the SOC in Appendix J to the immigration rules here.
For example, if you hire a business development manager, the corresponding SOC is 3545 and the minimum wage for an experienced employee is at least £33,300 per year. It is recommended that you consult your immigration lawyer about the correct SOC code.
Step 3: Labour market test (RLMT)
In most cases you will need to advertise the position for which you want to hire an employee to allow UK and EU citizens to apply. However, in some cases RLMT is not required if:
- There is a shortage of work (see Annex to the Immigration Rules). For example, IT managers with at least 5 years of work experience;
- A person who is already in the UK has received or will receive a UK-recognised bachelor's or master's degree and is applying for a Tier 2 General visa from a student visa;
- The total salary package for the position will be £159,600 per year or higher.
For each position you must place two advertisements within at least 28 days. In most cases one of these must be on the government's Find a job website. The second advertisement may be on the website of a well-known professional or recruitment organisation, which does not charge applicants for viewing job advertisements or applying for a job.
Step 4: Choose the most suitable candidate
Make sure that you take notes during the interview and record the reasons for accepting or rejecting the candidate. If you find that your best candidate is seeking sponsorship, you can offer him or her a job, provided that the visa application is successful. Pay the Immigration skills charge, issue a sponsorship certificate and ask the candidate to apply for a Tier 2 visa.
Provided that you have completed the RLMT process correctly, your visa application will take up to 8 weeks. The applicant may also apply for priority service.
*Articles are intellectual property published for information purposes and are not legal advice.