UK Self-sponsorship Visa Application Advice and Consultant Services

Self-sponsorship

What is Self Sponsorship?
Self-sponsorship is essentially a method where an individual holds full or part of the shares of a company, obtains a sponsorship licence and is sponsored under the Skilled Worker Visa category by this company.

It is important to understand that Self-Sponsorship is not a visa route, nor is it the name of a scheme under the UK Immigration laws and policies.

It is an alternative method that can be used where real-life circumstances suggest this to be the solution to resolve the company’s genuine need to recruit a suitable worker.

The migrant worker will come to the UK under a Skilled Worker Visa sponsored by a company of which he is a shareholder.

How to apply for a self-sponsorship?
There are three main steps for the self-sponsorship process:

First, you must either take over or establish a business and prepare to apply for a sponsorship licence to ensure the company has the required systems to monitor sponsored employees and manage the sponsorship management system.

Second, the business must delegate the sponsorship duties to the relevant people and apply for a sponsorship licence with well-prepared supporting evidence.

Third, the Sponsorship Management System users issue a CoS certificate to sponsor your Skilled Worker visa application to fill the genuine vacancy for up to 5 years, as five years is the qualifying period for ILR application.

What are the main criteria for a self-sponsorship visa?
The requirements are two-fold: the sponsorship licence process and the individual visa application process.

All businesses must be UK-based, not bankrupt, have the necessary HR processes in place, be in good standing with government agencies such as Companies House and HMRC, and be registered with any regulatory authorities should the company’s services require so.

Sponsorship Roles
Before applying for the Sponsorship application, you must ensure relevant people have been employed or joined your organisation as a director, partner or office holder.

The three main roles to create the Sponsorship Management System are the
Authorising Officer, Level 1 User and Key Contact. If the conditions are met, you can gather all the main roles in one person e.g. the Authorising Officer can also assign the first Level 1 User role to themselves if they hold settled status or ILR in the UK or are British National. Using the Sponsorship Management System, the Authorising Officer can also act as the Key Person by appointment.

Authorising Officer
The “Authorising Officer” is a senior and significant figure within the organisation applying for a sponsor licence. This person holds the highest level of responsibility for the organization’s sponsor licence and compliance with the UK’s immigration rules. The Authorising Officer plays a central role in overseeing the sponsorship activities and ensuring that all obligations and duties are met, recruitment of the migrant workers is made in compliance with the regulations, and all users on the Sponsor Management System (SMS) perform their duties in compliance.

The Level 1 User 
This person will deal with the daily tasks such as monitoring migrant worker’s attendance, making the relevant changes via SMS, issuing Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) and administrative duties to manage the SMS. At least one of the Level 1 Users in your company must be settled or British Citizen.

Key Contact
The Key Contact is responsible for monitoring and executing communication with the Home Office in regard to the Sponsorship.

Skilled Worker Eligibility 
Individually, any applicant must score 70 points in the new points-based system. The mandatory requirements are for the individual to have a valid offer for a job at an appropriate skill level for a role listed on the eligible occupations list, be paid at an appropriate salary level, have a sponsorship certificate, and pass the B1 level English exam.

Also, any immigrant who wishes to apply for a Skilled Worker visa either shows a certain level of savings or has their company certify the maintenance if they are an A-rated sponsor. Additionally, they must not be in breach of the general grounds for refusal.

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Let’s look at the highlights

Knowledge of English

You must prove that you can read, write, speak and understand English at B1 CEFR Level. The English test must be taken in a test centre approved by the Home Office.

Maintenance

You will need to show £1,270 savings in your bank account available for 28 consecutive days before the application. You must show additional savings for your dependants should they join you on your application.

Visa Duration

Successful applicants receive any length of visa they wish, up to 5 years at a time, and can extend it as many times as they wish.

Extension

You can extend your Skilled Worker visa at the end of your visa, or if you are eligible, you can apply for ILR. The applicant must provide a valid Certificate of Sponsorship at every stage of the application.

ILR Rights

If eligible, the applicant can apply for indefinite leave to remain upon completing 5 years of stay.

Dependants

The applicants can bring their spouse and children. They are not required to take an English Language test. However, maintenance is required for each family member at different levels.

Waiting times and Costs

Waiting times vary depending on the application location. The application cost includes the sponsorship application fee, sponsorship licence issue fee, Immigration Skills Charge, visa application fee and Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) fee. Costs must be calculated, including dependents and considering the up-to-date standard published rates. Costs also depend on how many years the Certificate of Sponsorship is issued and, thus, how many years of visa you're applying for. All payments are payable during the submission process.

Frequently Asked Questions

A sponsor licence authorises a UK employer to sponsor skilled workers to come to the UK. Employers must submit an application to the Home Office to demonstrate their eligibility and capacity to fulfil the sponsorship duties. In addition to the Skilled Worker Sponsorship Licence, there are other types of Sponsorship Licence, such as Scale-Up Sponsorship Licence and Global Business Mobility Sponsorship Licence, allowing different types of workers to come to work in the UK to fill different types of vacancies.

The application fee varies based on the organisation’s size. Small sponsor registration fee is £536, Large sponsor registration fee is £1,476. The fees can change. For a fee calculation and cost breakdown, please get in touch with our advisors.

A sponsorship licence remains valid for four years. To maintain their sponsorship privileges, the sponsor must initiate the renewal process before the licence’s expiration.

Typically, it takes approximately eight weeks to process licence applications. However, organisations must allocate sufficient time for preparing and assembling the submission, which can take several weeks depending on the readiness of the company’s systems and officers. Through the optional premium processing, employers can receive a decision on their application within ten working days by paying an additional fee of £500.

It is not permitted for Level 1 users to assign Certificates of Sponsorship to their relatives. If the prospective employee is not a relative of the Level 1 user but someone else at the company, there is no barrier to sponsoring this particular person as long as the vacancy and employment are genuine. However, such family relations must still be declared on the Certificate of Sponsorship.

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