Do New UK Work Visas Require Sponsorship?

UK work visa
*Collaborative Post

The UK government is introducing new works visas in 2022 including the Scale-Up visa, High Potential Individual visa, and Global Business Mobility Visa. This is part of a plan to make the country a global innovation hub hence making it easier for top talents to enter the country. Also, this plan aims to bolster the UK’s economy suffering from a shortage of skills following Brexit and the coronavirus pandemic.

These new work visas will allow UK businesses to hire top talents from foreign countries and send in skilled workers to occupy a temporal position. For individuals with special talents, it’s a fast track to working in the UK. Here’s what each visa entails:

1.   Scale-Up visa

The Scale-Up Visa is for exceptional talent only with job offers from scale-up companies. Companies qualify as scale-ups if they grew by at least 20% per year in personnel count or turnover for the last three years with at least 10 workers in the first year.

2.   High Potential Individual visa

The high potential individual visa welcomes graduates of top global universities. To be eligible, applicants must have graduated 5 years before applying. It’s an individual visa so beneficiaries don’t need a job offer from a UK company to enter the country.

3.   Global Business Mobility Visa

The Global Business Mobility visa will allow UK companies to send in workers from foreign branches or other partnering overseas companies. Beneficiaries must have worked for the company for 3 months before applying. The application for the Global Business Mobility Visa is currently open.

Do The Visas Require Sponsorship?

The majority of UK work visas, for businesses employing workers from outside the country, require a sponsor licence. This includes existing visas like the Skilled Worker visa, Health or Care Worker visa, Seasonal Worker visa, and Charity Worker visa among others.

Among the new work visas, a sponsorship licence is required for the Scale-Up and Global Business Mobility visas. The High Potential Individual visa doesn’t require sponsorship; beneficiaries can become self-employers in the UK.

For the Scale-up visa, you need an unused certificate of sponsorship from your UK employer. Employers can issue certificates of sponsorship after obtaining a sponsorship licence.

UK companies only need to apply for a sponsor licence once and they can issue multiple certificates of sponsorship to different workers if they get an A-rated licence. Each sponsorship licence is valid for 4 years.

Companies with A-rated licences are listed on the online Register of licensed sponsors. You can check this register to confirm that your employer has a valid sponsor licence and if they’re allowed to sponsor your job category.

To qualify as sponsors for the scale-up visa, employers must also meet the scale-up program requirements – they must have had 20% yearly growth in either revenue or staff during the last three years and at least ten workers.

After getting your certificate of sponsorship from your UK employer, you must apply for your visa within 3 months. This certificate is digital, not a hard copy, and will contain your employer’s sponsorship licence number among other details.

The Global Business Mobility visa is an upgrade to the Intra-company Graduate Trainee visa. The Intra-company Graduate Trainee visa required sponsorship and this hasn’t changed.

If you’re coming to the UK as an expansion worker under the Global Business Mobility route, your employer will get a ‘provisional’ rating rather than an A-rated licence. They can only issue 1 certificate of sponsorship with a provisional-rated licence. However, they can upgrade to an A-rated licence if you get your visa.

Applications for the Global Business Mobility visa began on 11th April. If you have an Intra-company Graduate Trainee visa certificate of sponsorship issued between 11th February to 11th April, you don’t need a new certificate.

Since the High Potential Individual visa doesn’t require sponsorship, proof of funds is one of the key requirements.

Applications for the Scale-up and High Potential Individual visa are expected to open soon, around May-August.  You can contact UK immigration lawyers for guidance and more information about these new work visas.

Bottom Line

For the new UK work visas that require sponsorship, it’s mandatory that the jobs are suitable for sponsorship and that the hiring companies meet their responsibilities as sponsors to avoid losing their licence.

*This is a collaborative post. For further information please refer to my disclosure page.

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