Skilled Worker Sponsorship
We will guide you through the process of securing a sponsorship licence and the subsequent recruitment of migrant staff under the Skilled Worker route.
If your business wishes to hire migrant workers from overseas, then you will need to secure a Sponsor Licence from the Home Office’s UK Visas & Immigration Section (UKV&I).
Consider this a contract between your company and the government to guarantee that you will adhere to the compliance duties associated with sponsoring migrant workers.
The process involved in applying for a sponsor licence can be challenging. Routine audits of the human resource systems are conducted by Visiting Officers from the UKV&I.
If your business relies on its ability to employ migrant workers, maintaining compliance is critical.
How we can help
Our service is personalised to meet your needs. At Smith Stone Walters, we have a dedicated Sponsorship Registration & Compliance Team ready to assist your company in preparing the sponsor licence application for submission.
We also ensure that the right human resource systems are in place to comply with your ongoing sponsorship duties. Our strong relationships with the UKV&I Sponsor Licensing Unit enable us to effectively manage the progress of your licence application and provide you with an expedited service.
To learn more about our sponsor licence and business immigration services, please contact our team today.
Compliance is critical. We help with the details, so your audit is stress-free.
Those UK employers sponsoring staff under the Skilled Worker scheme can expect, at some stage, to receive a visit from Visiting Officers of the Home Office’s UK Visas & Immigration Section (UKV&I). The purpose of the visit is twofold:
- to ensure that you have the processes and human resource practices in place to enable you to meet (or continue to meet) your sponsorship duties
- to ensure that you are compliant with an employer’s legal responsibilities towards the prevention of illegal working as well as other related immigration legislation
Full compliance will lead to your company securing an ‘A’ rating from the UKV&I. Non-compliance could lead to prosecution, the loss of your licence, or both.
How we can help
Smith Stone Walters understands the complexity of UK immigration processes, the legal requirements and the issues that cause problems.
Our bespoke Immigration Audit Service is tailored to meet your business needs and budget whilst helping you to avoid the potential of incurring penalties.
Whether you require a peace-of-mind soft audit or a fully outsourced compliance and document retention solution, we have the answers.
Compliance & Training
As employee mobility continues to grow, so too does the demand for compliance.
UK immigration compliance is not voluntary. Employers have a duty to prevent illegal working, which means they must identify those migrants who require UK immigration permission and undertake prescribed document checks or risk civil penalties.
How we can help
Our dedicated team of trained professionals will ensure that you maintain ongoing compliance under the points-based system.
Should we identify any issues in regard to non-compliance, our staff will work with you to improve your processes. We will even provide in-house training to your key staff.
Smith Stone Walters maintains a legal expatriate workforce and takes this responsibility seriously. Let us help you do the same.
Immigration policy changes can have a profound impact on your business.
Immigration is what we do. Therefore, we are committed to assessing new and proposed regulation on your behalf and advising you on its potential effect on your business operations.
Furthermore, by building a strong partnership with your company, we are able to develop effective strategies and tactics to serve your best interests. We are actively involved in government proceedings.
We participate in key policy consultations, draft responses and voice reasoned and considered opinions in the design of immigration regulation to those in government.
How we can help
Smith Stone Walters does not make the laws, but we do keep you informed of new policies, proposals and potential changes that affect your business.
We help you to look forward rather than backwards when it comes to managing your company’s immigration strategy.
This section is intended for quick reference. It introduces many of the terms encountered in immigration and refugee law, ranging from the most common to the most technical. Note: not all the terms set out below are used in our website, but they may be used by immigration officials or other advisers and are included for that reason.
- A rating
This term is applied to a sponsor under the points-based system. It is the rating awarded by the Home Office’s UK Visa & Immigration Section when a sponsor joins the register of sponsors.
- Account management and compliance team
The team of staff within the Home Office’s UK Visa & Immigration Section responsible for ensuring that organisations are complying with their obligations as sponsors under the points-based system for coming to the United Kingdom to work, train or study.
- Account management or compliance actions
Action that staff of the Home Office’s UK Visa & Immigration Section will take to ensure that organisations are complying with their sponsorship duties under the points-based system for coming to the United Kingdom to work, train or study.
- Authorising officer
The authorising officer is one of the roles required within organisations that wish to sponsor migrants under the points-based system for coming to the United Kingdom to work, train or study. The authorising officer is responsible for the activities of anyone acting on behalf of the sponsor to issue certificates of sponsorship.
- B rating
This term is applied to a sponsor under the points-based system. It is the rating awarded by the Home Office when a sponsor joins the register of sponsors. A ‘B’ rating is a transitional rating for a sponsor who is under a sponsorship action plan.
- Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)
A Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) is a secure identity card which contains personal details and biometric information for those who have permission (a visa) to come to the UK for more than 6 months.
- Certificate of sponsorship
A ‘virtual document’ assigned by a licensed sponsor to a migrant who wishes to work for them in the UK. The migrant must quote the certificate of sponsorship reference number when applying for permission to enter or remain in the UK under the Skilled Worker route.
- Codes of Practice
Codes of practice for sponsors set out the skill level and appropriate salary rate for jobs. For a licensed sponsor to issue a valid Certificate of Sponsorship, the certificate must confirm that the job is at the necessary Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) level as stated in the codes of practice.
- Common travel area
Under the Common Travel Area (CTA), British and Irish citizens can move freely and reside in either jurisdiction and enjoy associated rights and privileges, including the right to work, study and vote in certain elections, as well as to access social welfare benefits and health services.
The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of 53 independent countries that consult and co-operate in the common interests of their people to promote international understanding and world peace. All of the member countries, except for Mozambique, have experienced direct or indirect British rule, or have been linked administratively to another Commonwealth country.
- Compliance activity
Actions that the Home Office’s UK Visa & Immigration Section staff will take to ensure that organisations are complying with their sponsorship duties under the points-based system for coming to the United Kingdom to work, train or study.
- Compliance team
The team of staff within the Home Office’s UK Visa & Immigration Section responsible for ensuring that organisations are complying with their sponsorship duties under the points-based system.
- Defined Certificate of Sponsorship
A type of Certificate of Sponsorship that is required for Skilled Workers applying for entry clearance from outside the UK.
This applies to the lowering of the rating awarded by the Home Office’s UK Visa & Immigration Section under the points-based system. It is the action taken when the Home Office changes an A rating to a B rating.
- English language
For certain visa applications applicants must demonstrate a certain level of English language ability. This can be through passing a test with a Home Office approved Secure English Language Testing (SELT) provider.
- Entry clearance
A visa or entry certificate, usually in the form of a vignette (sticker) in the holder’s passport, which provides evidence of the holder’s eligibility for entry to the UK. Commonly referred to simply as a ‘visa’. A valid entry clearance grants the holder permission to enter the UK on arrival.
English for speakers of other languages. This is a course for people who do not have sufficient English to be able to live independently in the United Kingdom. This course is run by both state-funded and private colleges. You can only use English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) qualifications to prove your knowledge of English if they’re are approved by UK Visas and Immigration.
- European Economic Area
The European Economic Area (EEA) consists of Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, the Republic of Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden. Although Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway are not members of the European Union (EU), their citizens have the same rights as EU citizens to apply for settled status in the UK under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS).
- European Union
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Irish Republic, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.
- Global Business Mobility
The Global Business Mobility route is an ‘umbrella category’ consisting of five sponsored visa categories for overseas businesses seeking to establish a presence in, or transfer staff to, the UK for specific business purposes. The five routes correspond to different assignment types as follows:
- Senior or Specialist Worker – For senior managers or specialist employees who are being assigned to a UK business linked to their employer overseas. This route replaces the Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) route.
- Graduate Trainee – For workers on a graduate training course leading to a senior management or specialist position and who are required to do a work placement in the UK. This route replaces the Intra-Company Transfer Graduate Trainee route.
- UK Expansion Worker – For senior managers or specialist employees who are being assigned to the UK to undertake work related to a business’s expansion to the UK. This route replaces the Sole Representative provisions in the Representative of an Overseas Business route.
- Service Supplier – For contractual service suppliers employed by an overseas service provider and self-employed independent professionals based overseas, that need to undertake an assignment in the UK to provide services covered by one of the UK’s international trade commitments. This route replaces the contractual service supplier and independent professional provisions in the Temporary Work – International Agreement route.
- Secondment Worker – For workers being seconded to the UK as part of a high value contract or investment by their employer overseas. This is a new route in the Immigration Rules.
- Global Talent
The Global Talent route is for people aged 18 or over in the field of science, engineering, humanities, medicine, digital technology or arts and culture who can show they have exceptional talent or exceptional promise.
- High Potential Individual
The High Potential Individual route has been designed to make it easier for overseas citizens to come to the UK without a job offer if they demonstrate high potential. This unsponsored route is for recent graduates of top global universities, who want to work, or look for work in the UK following their studies.
The Innovator route is for a person seeking to establish a business in the UK based on an innovative, viable and scalable business idea they have generated, or to which they have significantly contributed. The application must be supported by an endorsing body.
- Key contact
The key contact acts as the main point of contact between the Home Office’s UK Visas & Immigration Section and an organisation that sponsors migrants under the points-based system.
- Leave to remain
Leave to remain is permission to stay in the UK, either temporarily (‘limited leave to remain’) or permanently (‘indefinite leave to remain’).
- Legal representative
A solicitor or other qualified adviser who advises you on how our laws apply to your case.
- Licensed sponsor
An organisation that is licensed by the Home Office’s UK Visas & Immigration Section to sponsor migrants to come to the United Kingdom under the points-based system.
- Limited leave to remain
Permission to stay in the United Kingdom temporarily, for the length of time stated on your visa.
This means your available maintenance or funds when you apply to enter the United Kingdom to work, train or study. A defined level of maintenance is required before you can make certain applications.
Under the Skilled Worker route, you must have at least £1,270 in your bank account for at least 28 days in a row before you apply for a visa. You will not need to meet this requirement when you apply for a visa if:
- You have been in the UK with a valid visa for at least 12 months
- Your employer can cover your costs during your first month in the UK, up to £1,270. Your sponsor must confirm this on the Certificate of Sponsorship.
- Multiple entry certificate of sponsorship
A multiple entry certificate of sponsorship may be issued to a migrant based overseas who needs to enter the United Kingdom on a regular basis.
- National Recognition Information Centre (UK Naric)
Also known as UK NARIC. The United Kingdom agency that is the official source of information on international qualifications and how they compare with qualifications gained in the United Kingdom.
This may be the same as your citizenship, but it is possible to hold a nationality of a country without being a citizen of that country. For example, British subjects are British nationals but not British citizens.
- Non-visa national
A non-visa national does not need a visa to come to the United Kingdom for less than six months, unless it is a requirement of the immigration category under which they are entering. A non-visa national coming to the United Kingdom for more than six months will need a visa.
- Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC)
OISC is the body responsible for ensuring that all immigration advisers meet the requirements of good practice.
- PBS child dependent and PBS partner dependent
Routes for persons seeking to come to the UK as a dependent partner or dependent child of a Skilled Worker
- Permission to enter
Also known as ‘leave to enter’, this means permission given to a person to enter the UK. This could be via a valid entry clearance, a grant of permission by an immigration officer, or a grant of permission via an automated ePassport Gate (where the passenger is eligible to use that facility).
- Permission to stay
Has the same meaning as ‘leave to remain’ under the Immigration Act 1971 (and includes a variation of leave to enter or remain and an extension of leave to enter or remain). Permission given to a person who is already in the UK.
- Points-based system
The Home Office’s immigration system for managing applications by people who wish to come to the United Kingdom to work, train or study.
This term is applied to a sponsor under the points-based system for coming to the United Kingdom to work, train or study. It is one of two levels (A or B) awarded by the Home Office’s UK Visas & Immigration Section when a sponsor joins the register of sponsors.
- Register of sponsors
A list of all organisations licensed to sponsor migrants under the points-based system.
- Registration or professional accreditation
Recognition by or registration with the appropriate authority in the United Kingdom that permits a person who gained their qualifications in another country to practice a certain profession in the United Kingdom.
- Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF)
Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) is a single framework for describing all regulated qualifications in England and vocational qualifications in Northern Ireland.
The RQF is designed to help people understand qualifications, providing detail on the challenge and size of each qualification. The framework also shows where a qualification sits in relation to others of differing level and size.
- Representative of an overseas business visa
Also known as the Sole Representative Visa, this category of the points-based system allows a representative from an overseas business to come to the UK with the sole purpose of establishing and operating a registered branch or wholly-owned subsidiary of that company in the UK
- Resident labour market
The pool of workers who qualify as resident workers. A resident worker is a person who is legally settled in the United Kingdom with permission to work here.
- Resident worker
A person who is legally settled in the United Kingdom with permission to work here.
The Scale-up route is for talented individuals recruited by a UK Scale-up sponsor, who have the skills needed to enable to Scale-up business to continue growing. This category is intended to help the UK’s fastest growing businesses to access overseas talent.
- Settled status
You are normally resident in the United Kingdom with no immigration restriction on the length of your stay. To be free of immigration restriction you must have the right of abode or indefinite leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom.
- Settled worker
A ‘settled worker’ is a person who:
- is a national of the UK; or
- is a British overseas territories citizen, except those from Sovereign Base Areas in Cyprus. (Those included are Anguilla, Bermuda, British Antarctic Territory, British Virgin Islands, British Indian Ocean Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands and dependencies, Gibraltar, Montserrat, Pitcairn Islands, St. Helena and Dependencies and Turks and Caicos Islands); or
- is a Commonwealth citizen who was allowed to enter or to remain in the UK on the basis that a grandparent was born here; or
- has settled status in the UK within the meaning of the Immigration Act 1971, as amended by the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999, and the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002.
- Shortage occupation list
The official list of occupations for which there are not enough resident workers to fill available jobs. Occupations on the list are subject to more favourable immigration arrangements, enabling employers to access a wider pool of suitably skilled workers more quickly.
- Skilled Worker
The Skilled Worker route is for employers to recruit people to work in the UK in a specific job. A Skilled Worker must have a job offer in an eligible skilled occupation from a Home Office-approved sponsor.
- Sponsor duties
The responsibilities which organisations have when they sponsor migrants under the points-based system. The duties are record keeping, reporting, compliance, co-operating with the Home Office’s UK Visas & Immigration Section and tier specific duties.
- Sponsor licence number
The number a company or educational establishment is given by the Home Office’s UK Visas & Immigration Section when it is added to the register of organisations that wish to sponsor migrants under the points-based system.
- Sponsor licensing unit
The unit that makes all decisions on applications to join the register of organisations wishing to sponsor migrants under the points-based system. It awards licences, including the rating.
- Sponsor management and compliance procedures
Any procedure to ensure sponsors comply with their duties when sponsoring migrants under the points-based system.
- Sponsored skilled worker
A migrant supported by an employer to work in the United Kingdom under the Skilled Worker scheme.
- Sponsorship compliance officers
These are also called visiting staff, ie. any person from the Home Office’s sponsor management unit who will help sponsors comply with their duties when sponsoring migrants under the points-based system.
- Sponsorship management system
An IT system used by organisations that sponsor migrants under the points-based system. It allows sponsors to allocate certificates of sponsorship to migrants, carry out the administrative functions necessary to comply with their sponsor obligations and duties, and communicate information to the Home Office’s UK Visas & Immigration Section.
The Start-up route is for a person seeking to establish a business in the UK for the first time. The person must have an innovative, viable and scalable business idea which is supported by an endorsing body approved by the Home Office.
This term is used when someone applies for permission to extend their stay in the United Kingdom in another immigration category without leaving the United Kingdom.
- UK NARIC
The UK National Recognition Information Centre (UK NARIC) is the only official source of information on vocational, academic and professional qualifications awarded in more than 180 countries worldwide. A national agency managed on behalf of the UK government, it compares overseas qualifications with those in the UK, and provides information on qualifications and education systems outside the UK.
- United Kingdom
The United Kingdom (UK) includes England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are considered as part of the UK for nationality purposes, but they have their own immigration laws and policies.
- Visa national
A person who is a national or citizen of certain countries who will always require a visa to come to the United Kingdom. Some visa nationals may pass through the United Kingdom on the way to another country without a visa, but in some circumstances they will require a direct airside visa or visitor in transit visa.
- Work permit
Permission to work in the United Kingdom that is given to someone who has no automatic right to work here but has met the requirements to be allowed to do so.
- Youth mobility scheme
The Youth Mobility Scheme allows young people from participating countries to come to work and experience life in the United Kingdom for up to two years.