Sponsor Licence & Work Related Visas

Sponsor Licence

There are currently over 30,000 sponsor licence holders in the UK. As a UK employer, you will need to have a sponsor licence in order to sponsor a non-UK national to work in the UK. Any employer who is a legitimate business trading in the UK is eligible to apply. The sponsored role must be compliant with immigration requirements, i.e. be a skilled occupation and pay the required salary level.


UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) requests information with a sponsor licence application so they can be satisfied an employer is genuine in its application for a sponsor application, with a need to fill a genuine vacancy and not likely to abuse the terms of the licence. Moreover, the UKVI expects to see relevant evidence of a genuine recruitment of a suitable worker and employment need for the migrant worker.

In advance of any application, the company will also need to ensure they have the correct HR systems in place to comply with their sponsor duties and need to have key people within the company to administer the sponsorship process. There must be at least one ‘settled’ (a British or an EEA national who holds pre-settled or settled status, or an overseas national with PR status) senior member of staff in the company to manage the sponsor licence.

Visa duration

Once the application is granted, the sponsor licence is valid for four years. The company can then apply and assign a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to the migrant worker and to apply for a Skilled Worker visa for the worker.

UK Home Office processing time

The whole process, from licence application to grant of visa, could be completed in three to four months.*

    1. Sponsor licence application: normally 6 – 10 weeks
    2. Apply and assign Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS): 1 – 2 weeks
    3. Skilled Worker visa application: 6 – 10 weeks

* It may also take up to loner time if UKVI ask for additional information/documents.

Our service

We will assist you throughout the whole process, advise and prepare the required documents for submission. Our services will also include making representations to UK Visas and Immigration, informing you of any developments as and when they arise.

Skilled Worker Visa

A Skilled Worker visa allows you to come to or stay in the UK to do an eligible job with an approved employer.

The List of organisations licensed to sponsor workers on the Worker and Temporary Worker immigration routes can be found below:


Job Requirements

  • your job is eligible for this visa
  • you’ll be working for a UK employer that’s been approved by the Home Office
  • you’ll be paid at least the minimum salary for the type of work you’ll be doing
  • The minimum salary for the type of work you’ll be doing is whichever is the highest out of the following 3 options:
  • £25,600 per year
  • £10.10 per hour
  • the ‘going rate’ for the type of work you’ll be doing

Visa duration

  • Visa will be valid for 5 years
  • Will have to update it when changing employer/job must still meet the requirements
  • After 5 years can apply to settle

Healthcare or Education jobs

There are different salary rules if you work in some healthcare or education jobs. Your salary must be at least £20,480 – or more if your job’s ‘going rate’ is higher.

View the list of eligible healthcare and education jobs to see if the job is included.

Graduate Visa

This route is for international students who want to work following the successful completion of a course of study at UK bachelor’s degree-level or above.


You can apply for a Graduate visa if all of the following applied:

  • You’re in the UK
  • Your current visa is a Student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa
  • You studied a UK bachelor’s degree, postgraduate degree or other eligible course for a minimum period of time with your Student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa
  • You’ve successfully completed that course

Visa duration

  • A Graduate visa lasts for 2 years.
  • If you have a PHD or other doctoral qualification, it will last for 3 years.

Youth Mobility Scheme Visa

You can apply for a Youth Mobility Scheme visa (T5) if you:

  • want to live and work in the UK for up to 2 years
  • are aged 18 to 30
  • have £2,530 in savings
  • hold a BNO passport (if HK see ballot)
  • meet the other eligibility requirements

You can apply for a Youth Mobility Scheme visa if you’re from:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Monaco
  • New Zealand
  • San Marino

You must be selected in the Youth Mobility Scheme ballot before you can apply for your visa if you’re from:

  • Hong Kong
  • Japan
  • South Korea
  • Taiwan

Visa duration

  • Your visa will be valid for 2 years, allowing you to work and switch jobs freely without having to update your visa.

Global Talent Visa

You can apply for a Global Talent visa to work in the UK if you’re a leader or potential leader in one of the following fields:

  • academia or research
  • arts and culture
  • digital technology

Before you apply for a visa

  • Can apply if you have successfully applied for an endorsement to prove that you are a leader or potential leader.
  • You can apply for the visa without an endorsement if you’ve won an eligible award. Find out which awards are eligible.

Visa duration

  • Visa will be valid for 5 years
  • Can extend visa when expires
  • Can apply to settle after 3 or 5 years depending on which field you work in

Global Business Mobility Visa

This visa is designed for overseas companies to set up branches in the UK and to assign relevant employees to the UK. The program includes the following five categories and will begin accepting applications on 11th April 2022:

UK Expansion Worker Visa

 This visa mainly replaces the Sole Representative Visa, allowing overseas companies to appoint employees to expand their business in the UK, and can appoint multiple employees at one time, but this visa cannot lead to settlement directly.

Senior or Specialist Worker Visa

This visa is designed for senior managers and professional and technical personnel of large multinational companies, employees can use this visa to work in UK branches. This visa mainly replaces the Intra-Company Transfer visa.

Graduate Trainee Visa

This visa is designed for trainees of large multinational companies, this visa will replace the Intra-Company Graduate Trainee visa.

Service Supplier Visa

This visa is a temporary work visa, mainly for various overseas suppliers who need to provide temporary services in the UK, this visa will replace the current Temporary Work – International Agreement route.

Secondment visa

This visa is also a temporary work visa, mainly for employees of some large multinational companies who need to perform business contracts or investments in the UK.

Scale-up visa

This visa is mainly designed for fast-growing companies in the UK to help these companies attract high-quality overseas employees to work in the UK. Businesses in the UK will need to demonstrate an average growth rate of more than 20% in revenue or in the number of employees over the past three years and with at least 10 employees at the start of the three-year period before they can apply for this visa for overseas employees. The program will begin accepting applications on 22nd August.

Compared with the work visa, after the first two years of this visa, if the applicant meets the relevant annual salary requirements, the applicant can renew the visa for three years without the need of the employer to provide a certificate of Sponsorship, and can apply for permanent residence in the fifth year.

High Potential Individual Visa

This visa is designed to attract graduates from top overseas universities to the UK. It is suitable for applicants who have graduated within the past five years. Ranked in the top 50 globally on at least two of the designated Global Universities Lists:

  • Times Higher Education World University Rankings
  • Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings
  • The Academic Ranking of World Universities

According to the current rankings, among the universities in Hong Kong, only the graduates from the University of Hong Kong and the Chinese University of the past five years meet the application criteria. The plan will start accepting applications on May 30, and this visa cannot obtain permanent residence.