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Can I sponsor myself in the UK?

To work for a UK-based organisation, the company will need to have a sponsor licence in place. For overseas citizens looking to start up a business in the UK, they can take the self-sponsorship visa route.

For more information on how IAS can help you, call our friendly team today on 0333 331 4797.

Self-sponsorship UK

Although you cannot sponsor yourself to work in the UK for a British business, for those overseas who are looking to expand or set up a business in the UK, you can apply for a self-sponsorship visa from the Home Office.

Whilst a company in the UK would need to attain a sponsor licence to accompany your skilled worker visa application, individuals who wish to set up an active trading company within the United Kingdom can now plan to do so with the implementation of the self sponsorship route.

However, this route is not suitable for all foreign workers looking to enter the UK on a visa application. Strict criteria are set out by the Home Office to ensure the self sponsorship visa is solely offered to those with the intention of running a UK business.

Who can apply for self sponsorship?

There are multiple categories of people that could be suitable to apply for self sponsorship. Ideally, you will be highly competent and successful within business. Your intention to set up a business in the UK must be genuine.

Whether it be that you have pinpointed a gap in the UK market for your business, or that you wish to expand your current overseas business in the UK- the self sponsorship visa can provide you with the perfect canvas to reach success.

You must also have a genuine intention to own the UK business with a desire to manage and offer leadership as the owner.

What are the eligibility requirements?

In order to apply, there are a set of eligibility requirements set out by the UK Home Office to ensure only those eligible to apply to do. These guidelines are as follows:

  • Has identified a solid business plan in the UK or has the intention to take over an existing UK business
  • Has relevant competency or qualifications in the area in which they wish to pursue a business in the UK
  • Must already have or be willing to take an English language proficiency test set by the UK government- applicants must pass at B1 level to be considered
  • Has the means to set up the business in the UK. For example, sufficient funding or investment (there is no minimum or maximum investment)
  • Has connection with a British citizen or person of settled status who will acquire the role of authorizing officer in your company

Do you need help applying for a Skilled Worker Visa? Our lawyers can assist you.

How is a self sponsorship visa different from other visa routes?

The UK self sponsorship route offers an overseas worker a more accessible way to expand their business in the UK. Before, there were many other options including the UK Sole Representative visa and the innovator visa. Whilst these options can grant access to the UK as a business person, there were many limitations.

The UK Sole Representative visa holds the restraint of not permitting applications from majority shareholders, whilst the innovator visa is only open to those with authentic and innovative business ideas. As for the investor visa, applicants are required to fund a 2 million pounds investment to be granted permittance. With the investor visa being shut down, investor visa applicants must find another visa route.

Can I get a skilled worker visa once I have self sponsorship?

Once you have demonstrated the intent to pursue an active trading company in the UK, you can use your sponsor licence to support your application for a skilled worker visa. The skilled worker visa will allow you to work in the UK and live freely, enjoying the benefits that the British economy has to offer.

The skilled worker visa will come at a cost. This includes application fees along with a yearly immigration health surcharge set out by the UK government in the immigration rules.

Your UK self-sponsorship will support your skilled worker application and assist in helping the UK Home Office in making a decision on your immigration status.

How to apply

Before you consider filing an application, you must ensure that you set up your intended UK company and seek registration from a registered UK accountant firm or person. For those living outside of the UK, you are strongly advised to consider allocating a UK-based director during the process of registration, which can take up to eight weeks.

Once registered, you can apply online for your self-sponsorship as a UK company. You must provide the following documentation to the Home Office in support of your application for a sponsor licence.

  • PAYE and accounts reference
  • A recent bank statement that demonstrates the funds you have available to support your new business venture (you can seek advice on the minimum and maximum investment required)
  • VAT certificate
  • Employers liability insurance

To further reinforce your genuine intention to establish a UK company, it is advised to prepare a business plan in conjunction with your application. This demonstrates a proactive and sincere approach to ensuring your UK company has the best chance of success. You can seek the advice of a UK legal expert who has ample experience in sponsor licence applications and the self sponsorship process.

How can IAS help?

For UK businesses wishing to proceed on the self sponsorship route, IAS have a team of dedicated and highly trained immigration lawyers waiting to help you. The team have great success in assisting organisations to be granted a sponsor licence.

From your initial plan to set up a business to apply for self sponsorship, our team will assist you every step of the way. Assistance can be given with UK visa applications also and deal with the Home Office on your behalf.

If you would like more information on how IAS can help you on your journey to a skilled worker sponsor licence and beyond, call our friendly team today on 0333 331 4797.

We can help you if you need help with your Skilled Worker Visa application.

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