Are you a UK employer who is looking to hire workers from outside of the UK? Well, you will need a Sponsor Licence, which allows you to sponsor foreign individuals to come and work for your business in the UK.
In this article, we will discuss the question, ‘how much does it cost a company to sponsor a visa UK?’, as well as provide the answers to frequently asked questions about Sponsor Licences.
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To learn more about sponsoring a visa in the UK, click here to read our helpful articles on:
- Everything you need to know about the Sponsor Licence Application
- How long does it take for a company to get a sponsorship licence?
- Sponsor Licence for the Hospitality Sector
- Sponsor Licence for the Care Sector
- UK Skills Gap is Crippling the Economy: Here Are The Best Ways for Employers To Recruit Foreign Workers
- UK Skills Gap: Skills Shortage Will Cost the Country
- Skilled Worker Visa
- What Is a Skilled Worker Visa?
What is a Sponsor Licence in the UK?
A Sponsor Licence allows UK businesses to hire workers who are based outside of the UK.
By law, it is mandatory for UK businesses to have a Sponsor Licence before they can hire foreign workers.
Any form of UK-based work is considered under this licence, including unpaid activities that are due to be carried out by anyone from the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland.
The UK business can choose to sponsor foreign workers on a short-term basis, or on a permanent basis.
There are different types of sponsorship licences, including:
- Skilled Worker
- Minister of Religion or Religious Worker
- International Sportsperson
- Creative Worker
- Charity Worker
- Scale-Up Worker
- International Agreement
- Government Authorised Exchange
- Secondment Worker
- Service Supplier (up to 1 year)
- UK Expansion Worker
- Seasonal Worker
- Graduate Trainee ((Global Business Mobility)
However, just because a UK employer sponsors a non-British individual, this does not mean the individual is guaranteed a visa to work in the UK.
How can a company sponsor a foreign worker’s visa in the UK?
Here are the steps which you have to take if you want to apply for a Sponsor Licence:
- Check if your business is eligible.
- Check if the foreign worker’s job is suitable for sponsorship.
- Choose the type of licence that you want to apply for. This will depend on what type of worker you want to sponsor.
- Decide who will manage sponsorship within your business.
- Apply online and pay the fee.
It will usually take around 2 months to hear back with a decision. You may be able to pay to get a faster decision on your application.
How much does it cost a company to sponsor a visa UK?
So, how much does it cost a company to sponsor a visa UK?
You will be asked to pay a fee when you apply for a Sponsor Licence. The fee depends on the type of Sponsor Licence you are applying for ad what type of organisation you are.
Read this chart below to find out the current fees to apply for a Sponsor Licence:
Type of Sponsor Licence
Fee for small or charitable sponsors
Fee for medium or large sponsors
Worker and Temporary Worker
Add a Worker Licence to an existing Temporary Worker Licence
Add a Temporary Worker Licence to an existing Worker licence
What is the eligibility criteria for a Sponsor Licence?
A UK employer and their staff will be checked, to make sure they are suitable to have a Sponsor Licence. For instance, nobody from the UK business should:
- Spend most of their time outside of the UK
- Be subject to a bankruptcy restriction
- Have a history of non-compliance with Sponsorship requirements
- Have broken the law
- Have been reported to UKVI
- Have failed to pay VAT or other excise duty
- Be a contractor or consultant contracted for a specific project
- Have unspent criminal convictions for immigration offencesor certain other crimes, such as fraud or money laundering.
- Had a sponsor licence revoked in the last 12 months.
What is a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS)?
A Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) is an electronic record (not a physical document) which the UK employer assigns to every foreign worker they employ. The certificate contains a unique reference number, which the foreign worker can use to apply for a work visa and join the UK business.
As a licenced sponsor, you are legally required to keep an electronic record of each of your employees via the form of a CoS. You will need to hold a defined certificate for workers you bring into the UK from overseas. This represents that the contract and needs are pre-determined via a formal job contract. If a worker is looking to switch their visa type and work in the UK, you will need to hold an undefined certificate on record.
These certificates form part of the visa application process for new employees, so it is essential that a CoS is always produced and logged correctly. If a copy is requested and you do not have one to provide, you risk your licence being downgraded and even revoked.
What is a Sponsor Licence rating?
As an employer, your Sponsor Licence will be rated either ‘A’ or ‘B’.
If your application for a Sponsor Licence is approved, you will receive an ‘A’ rating. Your business will be listed in the register of sponsors, and you can start assigning Certificates of Sponsorship.
At a later stage, if you do not meet the responsibilities required of you as a sponsor, your Licence may be downgraded to a ‘B’ rating. You won’t be able to issue new Certificates of Sponsorships until you have made improvements and upgraded back to an ‘A’ rating.
To upgrade back to an ‘A’ rating, you will have to complete an ‘action plan’ provided by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI), which costs £1,476. This fee must be paid within 10 working days, otherwise you will lose your Sponsor Licence.
Can a Sponsor Licence be taken away from an employer in the UK?
The Home Office can take away your Sponsor Licence, which would mean that any foreign workers you have sponsored will have their visas curtailed for 60 days. The foreign workers will have to leave the UK, or make a new visa application, but they will need to have legal permission to stay in the UK.
Your Sponsor Licence can be revoked if the Home Office has reasons to believe that you have made a serious breach of the conditions of your Sponsor Licence. For example, if you have supplied false information, broken any laws, or been convicted of a criminal offence.
In addition to having your Sponsor Licence revoked, you may also incur fines and penalties for your actions.
You may not be able to apply for a new Sponsor Licence until at least 12 months have passed.
Where can I get help with my Sponsorship Licence application?
Our elite immigration agency (Synergy Immigration Solutions) has extensive experience in dealing with employer and employee applications concerning Sponsor Licencing.
We house all the support services you need for immigration applications, under one roof. This means one cost only, for complete support on your visa application.
We enjoy working with individuals who need assistance with their visa applications.
- We will liaise with the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) on your behalf- saving you time, effort, workload, and stress.
- We will answer your questions and address any concerns. We are proud to offer a bespoke personalised service, tailoring our advice to suit your needs and ensure that your application has the best chance of success.
- We process all applications in an efficient and timely manner and keep our clients well-informed throughout the process.
It is vital that the correct documentation is in place to ensure the application is approved.
We would always recommend that you appoint a specialist such as Synergy Immigration Solutions to manage this process for you.
Click here to contact Synergy Immigration Solutions and submit your query.
Alternatively, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 315 05359. We will get back to you within 24 hours and we are more than happy to help.
About Synergy Immigration Solutions
We are a UK immigration agency, regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC). We are proud members of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association.
We hope this article has provided the answer to the question ‘how much does it cost a company to sponsor a visa UK?’