Skilled Worker Visas for Businesses

Talent Mobility. Key Insights on Skilled Worker Visas for Businesses 

Follow Us:

Hundreds of thousands of workers come to the UK each year to work in businesses like yours, giving you access to high-value and experienced workers. They play a vital role in filling gaps in our domestic labour market. However, if you are looking to fill your most important roles with immigrant workers, you will need to ensure they can access a Skilled Worker visa.

The following article will update you on everything you need to know about the Skilled Worker visa to ensure you can get hold of the best workers in the world. This particularly focuses on the Sponsorship Licence and Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS). It then explains why you should consider using an immigration lawyer or adviser to keep your company at the cutting edge of UK immigration legislation.

What is the Skilled Worker Visa?

The UK government has created a list of roles that are considered skilled work. If your business wants to hire someone from abroad for such a role, you will need to make sure they can get a Skilled Worker visa. This document allows them to come to the UK for up to five years, living in the country and working for your company.

Despite only lasting five years, the Skilled Worker visa can be relevant for building a far longer relationship with a foreign employee. At the end of the five-year period, they can choose to renew the visa for a further five years or apply for indefinite leave to remain.

The Skilled Worker visa can also allow your foreign worker to transfer their domestic life to the UK, allowing them to start a new life here. This is because the Skilled Worker visa has provisions for bringing familial dependents to the UK.

Getting a Sponsor Licence

For a foreign worker to get a Skilled Worker visa for employment in your company, you must assign them a CoS. For this, your business requires a Sponsor Licence. The application will cost £536 to £1,476 depending on the type of workers you will be hiring and the size of your business. 

Sponsor Licence Application

The UK Government has simplified the process of applying for a Sponsor Licence by bringing the system online. The first step is to appoint an authorising officer within your business. This staff member will lead the sponsorship process for your business. You can also appoint an immigration adviser and lawyer at this stage to help you to maintain compliance. 

Your businesses authorising officer can then complete the application form and submit it online. Supporting documents will need to be provided within five days. A full list of documentation required to submit your application can be found on the UK Government website. 

Sponsor Licence Requirements

Not all businesses will be able to get a Sponsor Licence so that they can hire skilled workers. The main requirements to be aware of include the following:

  • Your business has systems in place to manage the sponsorship process and to keep track of your sponsored workers on Skilled Worker visas. 
  • You will be hiring workers for roles that fit the minimum wage requirements of a skilled worker visa. This will be the standard wage for the role and your industry or £38,700, whichever is higher.
  • You don’t have unspent criminal convictions for immigration offences or financial crimes.
  • Your business hasn’t had a sponsor licence revoked in the last 12 months.

Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS)

When your prospective worker completes their Skilled Worker visa application, they will need to provide a valid CoS number, which you can provide to them when you assign them a CoS. Your worker will need to use this within three months of its being assigned. The function of the CoS is to confirm that your business is supporting the Skilled Worker visa application and you will employ the worker once they come to the UK. 

There are two types of CoS for Skilled Worker visa applications that you need to be aware of and make sure that you assign the correct type to your prospective foreign worker. They include the following:

  • Defined CoS: Skilled Worker visa applicants who are making their application from abroad. 
  • Undefined CoS: Skilled Worker visa applicants applying from inside of the UK.

Assigning a CoS to a Foreign Worker for their Skilled Worker Visa Application

Before your prospective worker can make their Skilled Worker visa application, you will need to assign them a CoS. This is done online on the Sponsorship Management System (SMS) which your business’ authorising officer will use to manage your sponsorships of skilled workers. 

The process is slightly different depending on if you are assigning a defined or undefined CoS to the prospective skilled worker. Begin by submitting information on the worker you will be hiring on SMS as well as information about the role. Following this, you will receive a CoS reference number and must simply assign it to the worker for their Skilled Worker visa application. 

Unlike with a defined CoS, you won’t need to apply for undefined CoS individually. Instead, you will simply assign a CoS granted to your business to the skilled worker. Follow the steps listed below to complete this process:

  1. Navigate to the worker’s screen and select “create and assign”.
  2. Select the appropriate visa category.
  3. Enter details about the proposed employment and select “save” and then “assign”.
  4. You will then be navigated to the “confirm CoS details before assigning” screen, where you will verify that the information you have included is correct.
  5. Tick the box confirming your consent to the terms and select “assign CoS”.
  6. Complete payment of the CoS fee on the “online payment screen”.

Using Skilled Worker Visas to Elevate Your Business

Skilled Worker visas can elevate your business by giving you access to some of the world’s best talent in your sector. While your prospective Skilled Worker will usually be responsible for completing their application, your responsibility is to assign them a valid CoS and ensure that your business has a Sponsor Licence. 

This process can be complex as you will need to prove that your business will be hiring eligible skilled workers and fit the requirements to sponsor foreign workers. For this reason, it is common for companies to hire an immigration lawyer or adviser who can help them maintain compliance and manage SMS appropriately. You can also direct them towards your prospective employee to help with their Skilled Worker visa application. 

Also Read: Work visas pile up in the United States post-pandemic



Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Get updates and learn from the best

Scroll to Top

Hire Us To Spread Your Content

Fill this form and we will call you.