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Sponsoring Overseas Employees

The Points-Based System ("PBS") allows registered employers in the UK to bring staff from abroad to fill certain vacancies.  

In order to use the PBS, you must register as a Sponsor, and then issue a ‘Certificate of Sponsorship’ ('COS') to your prospective employee. If the employee needs to make a visa application from outside the UK, then you must apply for a "restricted" COS under the monthly cap.

We prepare applications for Sponsor Licensing, including advice on what to expect from a Sponsor Licence visit by Home Office enforcement officers.

We then advise on how to manage your status as a Sponsor, including:

  • reporting and record-keeping duties
  • issuing Certificates of Sponsorship
  • advertising requirements
  • employees’ applications for entry clearance and leave to remain

We will always conduct a full investigation of all the relevant circumstances, so that we can advise if any other immigration route might be open to your employee.

Tier 2

Tier 2 of the PBS allows you to recruit overseas nationals to do skilled jobs in the UK.   Within the Tier 2 category there are sub-categories as follows:

  • Tier 2 (General) for skilled workers with a job offer in the UK
  • Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) for workers transferring to a UK business from a connected overseas employer
  • Tier 2 Sportsperson
  • Tier 2 Minister of Religion

You can issue either a ‘restricted’ or an ‘unrestricted’ Certificate of Sponsorship, depending on the nature of the job and whether the worker is coming from overseas or applying from inside the UK.

In some circumstances you may need to advertise the post, to show that no suitable member of the local workforce is available. There are also strict requirements about salary and skill levels.

Once in possession of the Certificate of Sponsorship, the employee must apply for a visa or residence permit.   This means that they must also satisfy the English-language and maintenance money requirements in the Immigration Rules.

Tier 5

Tier 5 provides for temporary workers to come to the UK in categories including sportspeople, creative workers, and religious workers. It also covers participants in Government-authorised exchange programmes and workers under various international agreements.

An employer registered as a Tier 5 sponsor must ensure that the job a migrant workers is coming to do is appropriately skilled and paid. They may also have to advertise the job for a set period.

In some cases (for example, in the creative sector) there are special additional codes of practice applicable to particular jobs.

We provide the advice you need based on individual circumstances, and help you find the most appropriate visa route for your workers.