How much does it cost to sponsor someone for a UK work visa?

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Since the UK left the European Union, there has been a rising need to sponsor EU citizens in the UK, since the free movement ended.

However, sponsoring someone to work for you in the UK on a work visa isn’t a cakewalk by any means.  It requires investing thousands of pounds before you can hire overseas talents to help your business thrive.

But hiring overseas skilled workers is also the need of the hour, owing to Britains ‘build back better’ ideology during the pandemic.

To some extent the employer pays the cost of sponsoring the skilled work, but many times the workers have to bear the cost.

Let us understand how much it costs to sponsor someone, the process and timeline of application.

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The cost involved

Well, the cost of sponsoring a worker depends on the size of your organisation.

For small, charitable organisations, it costs £536, whereas medium to large organisations have to pay £1,476 for sponsoring overseas workers.

The question somes, what tentamounts to a small organisation?

A small organisation, according to the sponsor licence guidance is any organisation which has a turnover not more than £10.2 million, balance sheet is not more than £5.1 million, and employs as many as 50 employees.

The sponsor licence is issued for a period of 4 years, it costs the same while you renew it.

The COVID-19 pandemic has hampered visa processing in the United Kingdom, and also the availability of some services, such as priority and super priority services. Applicants and their sponsors should check the service offerings and availability at the centre that will be processing their application (whether it’s in the UK or wherever else).

Route of sponsorship & application

The most common route for sponsoring overseas workers is through the skilled worker visa route.

 As a part of hiring the overseas worker the Uk employers has to issue a certificate of sponsorship, this certificate validates the genuineness of the job offered.

This certificate contains the name of the employer and the job position offered to the overseas worker.

The cost of issuing this certificate is £199.

Also, the UK employer has to mandatory pay Immigration skill charge, it is a type of a tax levied on all businesses who are authorised sponsor licence holders in the UK.

The Immigration Skills Charge for a small or charitable sponsor is £364 for the first year and £182 for each successive six months. Sponsoring someone for five years would therefore cost £1,820.

The fee for a medium or big sponsor is £1,000 for the first year and £500 for every six months after that. It would cost £5,000 to sponsor someone for five years.

The skilled worker visa applicants also have to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge of £624 every year.

Above this, there are also the application charges.

£610 for a three-year visa in a non-shortage occupation, £464 for a three-year visa in a shortage occupation, £1,220 for a visa for more than three years in a non-shortage occupation, £928 for a visa for more than a year in a shortage occupation.

The application has to be made online by submitting all the required documents.

Sponsors can also take use of a premium service provided by the Home Office. For a price of £25,000 per year for a medium/large company, or £8,000 per year for a small company.

Who gets the benefit?

The preceding is solely for the worker’s benefit. The visa application fee and the Immigration Health Surcharge are also payable by family members accompanying them to the UK.

Before proceeding with sponsorship, I would always advise companies to check with the individual to see if they have relatives and to agree on who will shoulder what fees up front.

The worker and the UK sponsor may agree that the worker will pay the application cost and the Immigration Health Surcharge on their own. The Immigration Skill Charge cannot be legitimately transferred from sponsors to individuals. The licence fee must be paid by the sponsor as well.

Other routes for job

The skilled worker visa, which needs sponsorship from a licenced employer, is the major immigration route for non-UK resident workers. Other job options, such as the Global Talent visa, are available that do not require sponsorship. Take suggestions based on your situation.

Need legal advice?

Gaining a sponsorship licence is no easy task. It is a costly process and requires continuous guidance, handholding, building your application, mock audit and most importantly checking with the eligibility requirements. Getting legal advice and consultation could help you expedite your application aligned with the Home Office’s need and procedure. You must choose A Y & J Solicitor for taking any legal advice before making a decision. Their bespoke immigration services have helped many get their visas, they could do the same for you.