Can I Get Hotel Jobs in London With Visa Sponsorship?
With over one thousand hotels in London alone, the hotel industry is a big employer in the hospitality sector, so it’s natural to wonder if you can move to the UK with a work visa for a hotel. But who is allowed to provide sponsorship to overseas workers in the UK, and what jobs foreign workers are permitted to do in the UK have strict regulations, so moving to the UK is not as easy as simply getting a job offer to be a housekeeper or receptionist.
So, can you work in a hotel with a working visa in London, and if so, what jobs can you do and what visa do you need? You’re about to find out.
Visa Sponsor Rules in the UK
Unfortunately, not just anyone can sponsor a work visa for the UK. If you’re from an EU country, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland and have a family member who has been in the UK before 31 December 2021, you can apply to join them in the UK under the EU Settlement Scheme, however, if you’re from another country, moving to the UK can be a lot more difficult.
For employers to sponsor a foreign citizen’s work visa application, they first need to apply for a sponsorship licence themselves. To receive a sponsorship licence, a company has to meet certain requirements and pay the fee to be approved by the Home Office as a valid sponsor, so the company can then create a certificate of sponsorship for their prospective employee’s own work visa application.
There are two main types of work visa in the UK, namely the Global Business Mobility visa, which enables employees to move to a UK branch of their company, and the Skilled Worker visa, that enables highly qualified or in-need workers to move to the UK. Each visa has a list of eligible occupations that people can work as in the UK, however, as the name suggests, the Skilled Worker visa is usually only available to highly experienced, skilled or in-need positions, or managerial positions, so it isn’t the right visa for everyone to apply for who wants to move to the UK.
Is Hotel Work on the List of Eligible Occupations for the Skilled Worker Visa?
There are many different necessary roles within a hotel business, from chefs and housekeepers to receptionists and managers, each with varying skill levels and experience needed. That’s why the only hotel jobs available for visa sponsorship in London or anywhere else in the UK, are hotel manager, or owner and manager (landlord/ landlady) of a guesthouse or Bed and Breakfast.
Can You Work in Hotels on a Global Business Mobility Visa?
There are currently no eligible jobs in the hotel industry on the government’s list of occupations for the Global Business Mobility visa, so this is not a viable option for people wanting to move to the UK for work.
Skilled Worker Visa Requirements
The list of jobs on the Skilled Worker list change according to demand in the UK, however, the requirements remain the same. The most important point to remember is that you cannot apply for a UK work visa without having a job offer from an approved UK business.
For foreign citizens to be awarded a Skilled Worker visa, they need:
- a job offer from an approved sponsor (employer)
- a job offer in an occupation that is listed in the UK’s eligible jobs
- a certificate of sponsorship with specific job details
- a proposed salary of either minimum wage or the so-called going rate for the job, whichever is higher
- to prove English language fluency across reading, writing, speaking and listening, to B1 standard or higher according to the CEFR (if not from an English-speaking country)
If you need to prove your English fluency and don’t have an official grade from a previous exam, you can take the English Language Testing System exam (IELTS) for an official certificate to demonstrate your English language skills. Medical professionals who have previously taken English exams as part of their training don’t have to retake any English proficiency exams to apply for a Skilled Worker visa.
Unlike some other UK visas, there are no specifications for the number of hours you can work each week on a Skilled Worker visa, however, you must be paid whichever is higher out of £26,200 per year, £10.75 per hour or the going rate for your job, which you can find on the government website.
Each candidate who meets these requirements will have to pay the application fee upon submitting their documents, as well as additional charges.
How Much Does a Skilled Worker Visa Cost for the UK?
The price for a Skilled Worker visa changes according to how long your visa lasts, and where you apply for your visa from. To apply for a Skilled Worker visa for less than 3 years from outside the UK, an application costs £625, while a visa for more than 3 years costs £1,235. If you apply from within the UK, either extending your visa or switching from a different visa to the Skilled Worker visa, a visa for up to 3 years costs £719, while more than 3 years costs £1,423.
You can start your application no more than 3 months before your proposed start date with your UK employer, and it takes no more than 3 weeks to receive an answer from the Home Office regarding your application if you apply from outside the UK, and no more than 8 weeks from inside the UK.
As well as the application fee for the visa, you’ll also have to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge of £624 to be able to use the British National Health Service, and show that you have at least £1,270 available to you in your account to cover your costs for your first month in the UK.
How to Get a Sponsor for UK Work Visa
So, if you’re a skilled worker with a good level of English, and there’s a high demand for workers in your occupation, how do you find a company to sponsor you? It’s not as hard as it may seem.
The UK has a number of job-searching sites, such as Indeed, where you can easily apply for jobs in the UK from anywhere in the world. Companies who have a sponsorship licence will say so in their job postings so it’s easy to know who you can apply to, but you can also simply send your CV and covering letter to a UK business in your field to ask for sponsorship.
Not every company will be willing to pay the sponsorship licence fee (from £536 to £1,476) and employ a sponsorship manager for their company to bring in overseas workers, however, if you are highly skilled and your occupation is in high demand, it’s likely that many businesses will be willing to hire you and help with your visa application. You can also check the register of approved sponsors on the government’s website, to see what companies can sponsor what roles, and where in the country they are.
If you’re already in the UK on a different visa and wish to switch to a Skilled Worker visa to remain in the UK, job-hunting can be even easier, as you can simply call, e-mail, or speak in person to different businesses who may be willing to sponsor you.
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