06th November 2014

Employing Foreign Workers in the UK

Sponsorship licences are necessary if you wish to employ someone in UK from outside EEA (and Switzerland).

Sponsoring a worker does not guarantee that their application will be successful; but it is a requirement of any such application.

Sponsorship is only possible if the person you are proposing to employ is suitable skilled and will receive an appropriate wage for the work they will be undertaking.

To make an application for a sponsorship license you will need to:

  • Complete an application form
  • Submit supporting documentation
    • Supporting documentation is required to show that the employer is a ‘genuine business’. Depending on the Tier’s you wish to apply under, there are certain documents which are mandatory to evidence the fact of being a genuine business.
  • Evidence systems for monitoring worker’s immigration status

Sponsorship licences can be to employ tier 2 workers, tier 5 workers, or both. Tier 2 will be applicable where you wish to employ skilled workers on a long-term basis, and Tier 5 will be applicable for employing skilled workers on a temporary basis.

Any employer wishing to apply for a sponsorship licence will be required to appoint people within the business to manage the sponsorship process. The three required positions are ‘authorising officer’, ‘key contact’ and ‘level 1 worker’ – these roles can be filled by multiple individuals or the same person. The appointed staff members’ suitability will be checked by UKVI.

Sponsorship licences are rated. Employers with an A-rated licence will be able to issue new certificates, whereas employers with a B-rated licence will only be able to issue certificates to workers already employed, or extent certificates.

A certificates of sponsorship is required for each person you wish to employ from overseas. The certificate is used by the worker in their Visa application.

Employing an overseas worker without a certificate of sponsorship (who is therefore working illegally) can lead to a fine of up to £20,000 per person.

Once certificate has been issued for a worker they will complete a visa application online and attend an out-of-country Visa Application Centre local to where they live to submit the application. This Application centre will pass the application to UKVI staff to make a decision.

Specifics for employing workers from India

  • Visa Application Centres are run by VSF Global.
  • TB test is required for applicants from India.

If you have any questions or would like any assistance please call us on 0845 894 1622 or email

Cartwright King is a national firm of Immigration lawyers. We have offices around the UK and are on hand to help you with your enquiries.

For further information please get in touch with our dedicated team.

You can always call us on 0845 894 1622 or email on


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