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Reviewed March 2024

In addition to being a popular tourist destination, the United Kingdom also attracts individuals from around the world who wish to settle and work there. To encourage more people to reside in the UK, the country has implemented a policy that requires businesses to obtain the right sponsor license if they intend to hire employees from outside the UK and Ireland. This policy creates opportunities for individuals living outside the United Kingdom to seek employment within the country.

In this article, Wego will provide all the necessary information regarding work Visa Sponsorship in the UK.

UK work visa sponsorship

UK work visa sponsorship involves the permission granted by a licensed employer to hire foreign workers. In the UK’s immigration system, if you are not a resident of the UK and wish to work there, you need a licensed employer to sponsor you. This means that the employer has obtained permission to hire foreign workers and bring them to the UK.

When a business agrees to become a licensed sponsor, they must also adhere to certain rules and undergo checks by the Home Office. The duties of sponsor license holders include:

  • record-keeping any right-to-work documentation, NI numbers, and contact details
  • monitoring sponsored individuals, and notifying the Home Office of any changes in circumstances
  • absence monitoring
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There are two types of UK work visa sponsorship licenses.

  • ‘Workers’ – for skilled or long-term employment
  • ‘Temporary workers’ – for specific types of temporary employment

You can apply for a license covering one or both types of workers.

Companies list

To access the worker and temporary worker sponsors list, please click here. The list also includes information about the category of workers they’re licensed to sponsor and their sponsorship rating.

How to apply for your UK work visa sponsorship?


To get a license as an employer, there are some criteria that you need to fill. You cannot have:

  • unspent criminal convictions for immigration offenses or certain other crimes, such as fraud or money laundering
  • had a sponsor license revoked in the last 12 months

Additionally, you’ll need to have appropriate systems in place to monitor sponsored employees and people to manage sponsorship in your business.

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) will review your application form and supporting documents. They may visit your business to make sure you’re trustworthy and capable of carrying out your duties.


An eligible employer then can hire a worker if the job they’re going to do has a suitable rate of pay and skill level, or meets the other criteria needed for their visa. Please click on the specific type of worker below to find out about the requirements.

Each category of workers may have additional specific requirements that need to be fulfilled. Please review and thoroughly understand these requirements to ensure compliance.

Additional requirements for religious workers

You’ll usually have to advertise any job you offer to someone with a Religious Worker visa unless it’s a non-essential position or involves living within a religious order (such as a monk or nun).

You must keep records of when you do not have to advertise the job. You need to prove that there is not a suitable person to take the role, who does not require sponsorship.

Additional requirements for creative workers

Creative jobs done by someone on a Creative Worker visa include:

  • ballet dancers and other dancers
  • film and TV performers
  • theatre and opera performers
  • film and TV workers
  • models

For creative jobs, you must make sure that either:

  • you comply with the creative workers’ code of practice (if it exists for that occupation)
  • the job is on the shortage occupations list

If the job is not on the shortage occupation list, and there is no code of practice, you need to check that the job cannot be done by a worker who does not need sponsoring.

Additional requirements for workers on an International Sportsperson visa

For sporting jobs that will be done by someone on an International Sportsperson visa, you must get an endorsement letter from the relevant governing body.

Sponsoring under-16

You may need to get a child performance licence if the worker is taking part in:

  • films, plays, concerts or other public performances that the audience pays to see, or that take place on licensed premises
  • paid modelling assignments

You must make sure that the person running the event applies at least 21 days before the event.

Sponsoring under-18

You can only sponsor a foreign worker under 18 on:

  • an International Sportsperson visa – they must be 16 or over
  • a Creative Worker visa – there’s no minimum age
  • a Government Authorised Exchange visa – there’s no minimum age

You cannot sponsor a foreign worker under 18 on any other visa.

Document submission

You can scan or take pictures of your submission sheet and supporting documents. Send them to the email address given on the submission sheet. Make sure your files:

  • are in PDF, JPEG or PNG format
  • have descriptive titles, with 25 or fewer characters
  • are high enough quality to be read

If your documents are not in English or Welsh, you must include a certified translation. If you cannot scan and send the documents by email, contact UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) using the contact details on the submission sheet.

Application process

You need to apply online for your license. Please click here to apply online.

Once you’ve finished the online application, you need to send in:

  • the submission sheet at the end of the application
  • your supporting documents, if you’re asked to

Any affidavits or statutory declarations you send must be witnessed by a qualified, independent person – for example, a solicitor, Notary Public, Justice of the Peace, Commissioner for Oaths, or (in Scotland only) a Councillor.


You need to pay a fee when you apply to be a licensed employer. The fee depends on the type of license you’re applying for and what type of organization you are.


  • GBP 536 (fee for small or charitable sponsors)
  • GBP 1,476 (fee for medium or large sponsors)

Temporary Worker

  • GBP 536 (fee for small or charitable sponsors)
  • GBP 536 (fee for medium or large sponsors)

Worker and Temporary Worker

  • GBP 536 (fee for small or charitable sponsors)
  • GBP 1,476 (fee for medium or large sponsors)

Add a Worker license to an existing Temporary Worker license

  • No fee (fee for small or charitable sponsors)
  • GBP 940 (fee for medium or large sponsors)

Add a Temporary Worker license to an existing Worker license

  • No fee for both small and large sponsors

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