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How much money do I need to make to sponsor an immigrant in the UK?

Acquiring a sponsor licence can be a lengthy process which requires careful planning and consideration.  A key aspect to consider is the cost of a sponsor licence and whether your company earns enough to be granted a valid sponsor licence application fee amount from the government.

For more information on how IAS can help you, call our friendly team of advisors today on  0333 305 9375.

Your earnings as a UK-based business

More and more UK-based businesses are looking towards employing a skilled worker from overseas via the skilled worker route. In order to do so, the company must obtain a valid sponsor licence from the UK government in order to issue the skilled worker with a certificate of sponsorship to support the person in their visa application process to access a permit to come to the UK.

There is no minimum income requirement for a company to meet in order to apply for a sponsor licence. However, your earnings may determine the scale of the job offer from your company and how much it will cost you to sponsor a skilled worker.

Immigration Advice Service has a wealth of experience in assisting clients with sponsor licence and skilled worker visa queries. For more information on how we can help you, call our friendly team of advisors today on 0333 305 9375.

Certificate of Sponsorship

Each immigrant worker that you wish to employ in your company home office must be issued with a certificate of sponsorship which details their job role and job description. Each certificate issued has its own unique reference number; which is to be used by the foreign worker in support of their visa application. A certificate of sponsorship is a digital document, and it is not possible to access a physical, hard copy.

A certificate of sponsorship, once assigned to a skilled worker, must be used in reference to their visa application within three months of being issued to be considered as a valid supporting document. It is also essential that they do not apply for their visa more than three months before their proposed start date of employment at your company.

Small or large sponsors

The scale of your business is important in determining the amount you will pay for your sponsor licence and issuing new certificates when needed. Your annual turnover along with a selection of other factors will ultimately determine whether you fit into the category of a small or charitable sponsor, small or charitable sponsors or. a medium or large sponsor.

A small or charitable sponsor is an organisation that has an annual turnover of £10.2 million or less, whereas, the annual turnover of many small companies and medium or larger sponsors will surpass this.

Once you have established the size of your business by assessing it against the available eligibility criteria, you can begin looking into the costs of a sponsor licence application and the fees involved in issuing an individual certificate of sponsorship per sponsored worker. You must consider the costs and what you will need to pay in fees before you begin to sponsor workers.

Do you need help applying sponsoring an employee? Our lawyers can assist you.


The cost of applying for a sponsor licence for a company of small or charitable status is £536. This applies to both a worker licence and a temporary worker licence. The cost increases considerably for medium or very large companies and sponsors, with the application fee standing at £1,476 for a worker licence. The cost of a temporary worker licence is £536 in total.

You will be required to pay a further fee for every certificate that you issue to a migrant worker. Each individual fee you pay will depend on the type of visa you have. Typically, the pricing for sponsor licence holders to issue a certificate of sponsorship is as follows:

  • Worker- £199 per certificate
  • Temporary worker- £21 per certificate
  • International sportsperson (over 12 months)- £199
  • International sportsperson (less than 12 months)- £21

Further costs incurred to the skilled worker include the visa application fee, immigration health surcharge and funds to support themselves in the UK. If a worker is getting financial support from the family members their employer, this must be made clear on the certificate issued.

Your responsibilities as an employer

Holding a valid UK sponsor licence comes with a set of guidelines current rules and responsibilities that you must adhere to fully in order to keep your sponsor licence rating healthy. You must ensure the following regulations are followed at all times:

  • Checked your skilled workers have the relevant qualifications and skills to participate in the job they are sponsored for (you must have the relevant documents to prove this)
  • Only issue a certificate of sponsorship for a job that is necessary for sponsorship
  • Report any issues to UK Visas and Immigration in a timely fashion

Failure to comply with these rules may result in a sanction on your company. For example; your licence could be downgraded or revoked fully.

Immigration skills charge

The immigration skills charge is a fee which is to paid by an employer who holds a valid sponsor licence and wishes to sponsor migrant workers under the skilled worker visa route. The fee is payable each time the employer issues a certificate of sponsorship for a migrant worker who wishes to work in the UK for 6 months or more, or, for a foreign national applying for a visa from inside the UK.

Failure to pay the immigration skills charge will result in the migrant workers visa application being rejected.

The cost of immigration skills charge can vary and it ultimately depends on the size of your family or company and how long the skilled worker intends to work for you. However, it is almost always payable for those sponsoring under the skilled worker route.

First 12 months

-Small business and charitable sponsor- £364

Medium or large sponsor- £1,000

Each additional 6 months

Small or charitable – £182

Medium or large sponsor- £500

How can IAS help?

Immigration advice service are here to offer expert advice in visa and sponsor licence queries. Whether it be submitting a work visa application or registering your interest in a sponsor licence, our lawyers are ready and waiting to help you today.

If you would like any more information on how we can help you with your sponsor licence or visa application, call our friendly team of tax advisors today on 0333 305 9375 .

We can help you if you need help with getting a sponsor licence or work visa

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