If you are interested in setting up a new business in the UK, or you own an existing UK business, you may be eligible for a UK Skilled Worker visa via self-sponsorship, that is by being sponsored by your own UK company. Your UK business will need to obtain a Skilled Worker sponsor licence before you can apply for a UK Skilled Worker visa through self-sponsorship.
The self-sponsored UK Skilled Worker visa route can lead to settlement in the UK and applicants can be joined by dependent partners and children.
Considering sponsoring yourself as a UK Skilled Worker? You can read about some of our self-sponsored UK Skilled Worker visa success stories here.
In order to sponsor yourself for a UK Skilled Worker visa, you will need to satisfy UK Visas and Immigration that:
The exact requirements you will need to satisfy to sponsor yourself for a UK Skilled Worker visa will vary depending on your circumstances. You may want to speak to an immigration lawyer for expert advice.
To discuss your self-sponsorship UK Skilled Worker visa application with one of our immigration barristers, contact our self-sponsorship work visa lawyers on 0203 617 9173 or complete our enquiry form below.
In order to sponsor yourself for a UK Skilled Worker visa, you will need to complete 4 steps:
In order to qualify for a UK Skilled Worker visa through self-sponsorship, you will first need to either register a new company in the UK or have already registered a company in the UK.
It is possible to register a UK company from overseas. There is no requirement for a director of a UK company to be a UK resident or British citizen. However, all directors of UK companies, including non-UK residents, must meet certain requirements and obligations.
If a non-UK resident director is unable to fulfil their duties, such as attending board meetings or signing official documents in person, they may appoint a UK-based representative.
If you are not familiar with the UK company registration process or UK laws and regulations, you may wish to engage the services of a professional company formation agent who can guide you through the process and ensure that all the requirements are met. Additionally, you will need to ensure that you comply with any relevant laws and regulations in your home country regarding the registration of overseas companies.
We work closely with a range of company formation agents who can assist our clients to register a UK company from overseas. Call our self-sponsorship UK Skilled Worker visa lawyers on 0203 617 9173 or complete our enquiry form below to find out more.
Once you have registered a UK company, the next step towards obtaining a UK Skilled Worker visa via self-sponsorship is for your UK business to apply for and be granted a Skilled Worker sponsor licence.
We have prepared a detailed guide for UK businesses that are considering applying for a UK Skilled Worker sponsor licence. However, in outline, the Home Office will want to be satisfied that:
In order to satisfy the Home Office that your business is a genuine business operating lawfully in the UK, you will need to provide at least four specified documents as set out in Appendix A of the sponsor guidance.
The exact documents you will need to provide will vary depending on the circumstances of your application and so professional advice should always be sought. However, where a business has been trading in the UK for less than 18 months (and therefore qualifies as a start-up business), a Skilled Worker sponsor licence application will typically need to include the following documents:
Plus any three of the following documents:
It is possible for a non-UK resident to open a business bank account in the UK, but the requirements and procedures may vary depending on the bank and individual circumstances.
To open a UK bank account as a non-UK resident, you will typically need to provide identification documents such as a passport or national ID card, proof of address (which may be more difficult to obtain as a non-resident), and proof of income or funding source.
Some banks may require you to have a UK address or to be a tax resident in the UK. In addition, some banks may only offer certain types of accounts to non-UK residents, such as basic bank accounts.
It’s also important to note that some banks may require you to visit a branch in person to open an account, while others may allow you to open an account online.
It is recommended that you research different banks and their requirements for non-UK residents, and contact them directly to find out what documents and information you will need to provide to open a business bank account. You may wish to consult a professional who can explain your options and help to ensure that all of the bank’s requirements are met.
Your UK business will need to be registered with Companies House, have a UK business bank account and, in most cases, be registered for PAYE/NI and VAT, but it will not need to be actively trading or have generated any revenue in the UK.
However, it will often be easier to satisfy the Home Office that your UK business is a genuine organisation operating lawfully in the UK where, for example:
At Richmond Chambers, our immigration barristers have secured sponsor licences for start-up businesses that are linked to an existing overseas business, as well as for new UK businesses without any such connection. Our specialist immigration lawyers can advise you as to your options, as well as the prospects of success.
All licensed sponsors must fulfil certain duties. Your duties as a licensed sponsor will include recording duties, record-keeping duties and compliance with UK immigration laws.
The Home Office will judge whether your business is capable of carrying out its sponsor duties by looking at your current human resources and recruitment systems and practices. For example, it will want to know whether you have systems in place that allow you to know when a sponsored worker has not turned up for work or to identify when their current permission is coming to an end. They may also conduct a compliance audit, either before they decide your application or after your licence is granted.
As part of our sponsor licence application service, we provide all our clients with a detailed Human Resources policy and procedure package. This includes conducting a job description analysis, Sponsor Licence Policy guide, Right to Work Checks guidance, record keeping checklist and templates for record keeping, and ongoing advice regarding HR systems and procedures.
In addition to reviewing documentation about your company in the UK, the Home Office will want to be satisfied that:
You can read more about the skill level requirement and the salary threshold requirement on our main Skilled Worker visa page.
As part of your company’s sponsor licence application, you will therefore additionally need to provide the Home Office with the following:
Our immigration solicitors regularly assist start-up business owners to secure UK Skilled Worker sponsor licences and then sponsor themselves to work in the UK. To see how they can assist you, call our self-sponsorship UK Skilled Worker visa solicitors on 0203 490 1221 or complete our enquiry form below.
Prior to submitting your application for a sponsor licence, you will need to appoint 3 Key Personnel:
When considering self-sponsorship, the following specific key personnel requirements should be kept in mind:
In practice, these requirements mean that in order to apply for a UK Skilled Worker visa via self-sponsorship you will need to have a trusted person based in the UK who is either British or settled and who you are willing to appoint as a paid director, employee or office holder of your UK business.
If you are considering paying for the services of a third-party agent to act as a UK Director and Authorising Officer for a fee, you may wish to consider how the agent will satisfy the Home Office that they have sufficient involvement in and oversight over your UK business to fulfil their responsibilities. You may also wish to keep in mind that the Home Office can, and regularly does, conduct unannounced compliance visits to the Authorising Officer’s business premises.
Once your company’s sponsor licence application has been approved, your business will be able to apply for and then assign a Defined Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS).
Certificates of Sponsorship are electronic records which must be assigned for each migrant worker you wish to employ. Each CoS will have a unique reference number which enables an applicant worker to apply for a self-sponsorship UK Skilled Worker visa.
Your Certificate of Sponsorship must have been issued not more than 3 months before the date of your UK Skilled Worker application.
Your Certificate of Sponsorship must include certain mandatory information, including:
Once a Certificate of Sponsorship has been assigned, you will be able to apply for a Skilled Worker visa via self-sponsorship.
In order to sponsor yourself for a UK Skilled Worker visa, your visa application will need to demonstrate that:
You can apply for a UK Skilled Worker visa up to 3 months before the day you are due to start work in the UK.
If applying from overseas, you should normally receive a decision on your self-sponsored UK Skilled Worker visa application within 3 weeks. The standard processing time for an application to switch into or extend a stay in the UK as a Skilled Worker is 8 weeks. Priority services may also be available.
Yes, if you sponsor yourself for a UK Skilled Worker visa you can be a Director and hold up to 100% of the shares in your company.
No, self-sponsored UK Skilled Worker visa applicants do not need to satisfy an investment funds requirement and so no minimum amount of investment funds is required. However, the Home Office will need to be satisfied that your UK business is a genuine organisation operating lawfully in the UK. This may be easier to demonstrate if you can show that you have sufficient investment funds to grow your UK business and cover minimum salary levels.
Unlike the Innovator Founder route, the UK Skilled Worker route does not require the sponsoring UK business to be innovative, viable or scalable. There is no requirement for the business to be endorsed by a Home Office approved endorsing body and there are no restrictions on the type of business activity that the company can engage in. Any business type can qualify for the UK Skilled Worker self-sponsorship visa route.
A business plan is not mandatory. However, if you are looking to sponsor yourself as a Skilled Worker it will often be easier to satisfy the Home Office that your UK business is a genuine organisation operating lawfully in the UK if you have a detailed business plan for your UK business.
Our immigration barristers can guide you as to the requirements for a business plan in support of your sponsor licence application. We can also assist you to identify a suitably qualified professional business plan writer and then liaise with the plan writer to ensure that your business plan satisfies the requirements of the Home Office.
Yes, self-sponsored Skilled Worker visa holders need to receive a salary from their company which must (subject to being able to rely on alternative tradable points) equal or exceed both a general salary threshold, the ‘going rate’ for the occupation (as set out in the relevant occupation code) and a minimum hourly rate (if applicable), whichever is higher. Our immigration barristers can advise you on the exact amount that you will need to be paid based on your occupation, qualifications and other criteria.
In order to qualify for a UK Skilled Worker visa via self-sponsorship you will need to demonstrate English language ability on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages in all 4 components (reading, writing, speaking and listening) to at least level B1 (intermediate).
Applicants applying for entry clearance or leave to remain as a self-sponsored UK Skilled Worker will satisfy the English language requirement if they:
If your application to sponsor yourself for a Skilled Worker visa is approved, you will be granted entry clearance or permission to stay for a period ending 14 days after the end date of your Certificate of Sponsorship (which may be up to a maximum of 5 years after the start date of your Certificate of Sponsorship).
Self-sponsored UK Skilled Worker visa holders are permitted to work in the job they have been sponsored for. They may also undertake supplementary employment provided that the employment meets the definition of ‘supplementary employment’ and they continue to work in the job for which they are being sponsored.
Yes, self-sponsored UK Skilled Worker visa holders can qualify for Settlement as a Skilled Worker, after spending a continuous period of 5 years in the UK. You will need to satisfy a residence requirement and pass the Life in the UK test (unless an exemption applies).
Your UK business will still need to be a Home Office approved sponsor and require you to work for them for the foreseeable future. You will also need to be paid at least the general ILR salary threshold (which, for most applicants, is £26,200 per year) or the going rate for the occupation, whichever is higher.
Our business immigration barristers regularly assist new and established UK business owners to secure Skilled Worker sponsor licences and then sponsor themselves to live and work in the UK.
Whether you require an assessment of your prospects of successfully applying for a Skilled Worker visa by self-sponsorship, advice on preparing a successful Skilled Worker sponsor licence application, or professional assistance with preparing and submitting an application to sponsor yourself as a Skilled Worker, our immigration barristers can manage your self-sponsorship Skilled Worker route application on your behalf.
We pride ourselves on being approachable and proactive in understanding and meeting our business clients’ needs. We are a highly driven team, dedicated to providing clear and reliable immigration advice directly to business owners as part of a professional and friendly service.
For the applicant to succeed in the ILR application as a spouse under the 5 years route, the applicant must:
Meeting the financial requirement is one of the key requirements for ILR as a spouse under 5 years route.
The financial requirement does not apply to a child who:
According to Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules, the applicant must meet:
Income and cash savings must be in the name of the applicant, their partner or jointly. However, income and cash savings of a dependent child of the applicant can also be included once the child has turned 18 years of age.
All employment or self-employment income must come from working legally. All income and savings must be lawfully derived.
Where the applicant has to meet the minimum income threshold, the financial requirement can generally be met in the following five ways:
The evidential flexibility is set out in paragraph D of Appendix FM-SE. Under Appendix FM-SE there is discretion for decision-makers to defer an application pending submission of missing evidence or the correct version of it, within a reasonable deadline set for this. Decision-makers will not have to defer where they do not think that correcting the error or omission will lead to a grant.
Decision-makers are also able to grant an application despite minor evidential problems (but not where specified evidence is missing entirely). There is also discretion for decision-makers where evidence cannot be supplied because it is not issued in a particular country or has been permanently lost. Decision-makers have general discretion to request additional information or evidence before making a decision.
Where the applicant’s partner is in receipt of any of the following benefits or allowances in the UK, the applicant will be able to meet the financial requirement at that application stage by providing evidence of “adequate maintenance” rather than meeting an income threshold of £18,600 or above:
If the applicant’s partner is in receipt of one of the above benefits or allowances on behalf of their child, the applicant will be able to qualify by meeting the financial requirement through “adequate maintenance”. The evidence required to demonstrate that the applicant’s partner is in receipt of a specified benefit or allowance is specified in Appendix FM-SE.
The applicant must provide specified evidence that he/she:
You will have to pass the Life in the UK test in order to apply for ILR as a spouse unless you are over the age of 65 or you are seeking exemption from this requirement due to medical reasons.
If your application for ILR as a spouse under 5 years route has been refused by the Home Office, UKVI and you believe that the decision to refuse your application is valid and lawful and therefore cannot be challenged successfully by way of appeal, you have the option to re-apply for ILR as a spouse within 14 days of your section 3C leave ending. We can provide the required legal help and assistance with re-applying for ILR as a spouse under 5 years route through our Super Priority Service.
As one of the expert immigration solicitors based in London, we are registered with the Home Office, UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) and its commercial partners UKVCAS Sopra Steria to provide Super Priority Service (SPS) for your ILR application whereby decision on your ILR application will be made by the Home Office UKVI within 24 hours of the enrolment of biometrics at a designated service centre.
Our specialist spouse visa solicitors can prepare and submit your ILR application to the Home Office, UKVI through Super Priority Service (SPS) and get a decision on your ILR application within 24 hours. This way, you will not have to wait for the decision on your ILR application for months (sometimes years).
Our expert team of spouse visa solicitors specialize in ILR spouse visa applications. If instructed to represent you regarding your application for ILR spouse visa under 5 years route, we will carry out all the work on your application until a decision is made by the Home Office UKVI on your ILR application – SET (M) application. The immigration casework to be carried out by our expert team of spouse visa solicitors will include the following:
As specialist immigration solicitors, we pride in having one of the best team of specialist immigration solicitors with wealth of knowledge and experience to deal with all types of UK visa and immigration matters. Our top rated immigration solicitors have successfully helped thousands of clients with all types of UK visa and immigration applications, immigration appeals, Administrative Review, Pre-Action Protocol (PAP) and Judicial Review.
Representing your Interest