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Recruit Teachers From Overseas: A Guide For Schools & Employers

You can employ teachers from overseas if they meet the eligibility requirements. However, they will need a visa, and you’ll have to sponsor them.

Are you interested in getting more information about recruiting teachers from overseas? Contact our team at +44 (0)333 305 9375 or message us online. We can guide employers and schools to sponsor and recruit teachers outside the UK.

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    Benefits of Choosing IAS for Your Sponsor Licence Needs

    Our dedicated UK corporate immigration lawyers deliver our services through a comprehensive and personalised approach suited to fit each business client that we work with.

    We can assist you in getting a UK Sponsor Licence, generating a certificate of sponsorship, and applying for a work visa for your employee. Whether this is your first application, your initial application was refused, or you were found to not be compliant in the past, we can help.

    With a successful track record, IAS eases the process for you so you can focus on other parts of your business. Here are more things you enjoy by working with us:

    Our lawyers will assess your Sponsor Licence case 1-1 to understand its unique aspects.

    We provide customised guidance for Sponsor Licence applications to increase chances of approval.

    We assist with maintaining compliance with the UK government’s rules for employing overseas workers.

    Our team offers detailed assistance in making any critical changes to the sponsor management system.

    Regardless of what your business immigration query might be, IAS is here to help and support you. Call us or enquire online to learn more about how we can help you.

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    Employer Requirements To Hire Teachers From Overseas

    To get teachers from abroad, you must meet certain eligibility requirements. They are:

    Be a Home Office Approved Sponsor

    Before you can hire a teacher from overseas, you have to be approved by the Home Office to sponsor an employee on a skilled worker visa. If you have not gotten a sponsor licence from the Home Office, you must first apply for that. Sponsors can be schools, academic trusts or the local authority.

    Be Able to Pay the Overseas Teacher

    Schools that sponsor international teachers must ensure they can pay the teachers they are sponsoring. The role must pay a minimum of £20,960 or the minimum salary paid to unqualified teachers working in England.

    Be Able to Conduct Safety Checks on Prospective Employees

    It is mandated that UK schools sponsoring foreign teachers must ensure they do a risk assessment of their candidates. Criminal checks must also be done to ensure the students are safe in the hands of such employees.

    Be Able to Check the Suitability of the Candidate

    Sponsors are required to check the suitability of the candidate they are employing. It is up to the sponsor to set the metric for evaluation. However, the school must show the Home Office that the candidate they want to hire checks all the eligibility requirement boxes.

    Allow our team of immigration expers to help you with the process of legally hiring teachers from overseas.

    How To Apply to Become a Licensed Worker Sponsor


    If you do not have a sponsorship licence from the Home Office, you must apply for one before becoming an eligible sponsor. With a licence, you can sponsor as many teachers as you need to come work in the UK.

    Before applying for a sponsorship licence, you must set up key personnel in your establishment who can manage the prospective employees. A part of your business has to be dedicated only to applying for and managing sponsorship.

    The Home Office requires your institution to have at least the three personnel below:

    • An authorising official who manages all the staff that use the Sponsorship Management System (SMS).
    • A level 1 official who is responsible for the SMS.
    • A contact person who will be the contact person between your institution and the Home Office.

    Note that 3 or 1 person can perform these roles.

    To become a licensed sponsor, you must apply online through the Sponsorship Management System of the Home Office. After signing onto the platform, you have to submit the details below:

    • The hierarchy of your institution.
    • The type of licence your institution wants to get.
    • The contact person in your institution.
    • The address and contact of your institution.

    Upon supplying the details, you must print and download the submission sheet attached below the application form. Then you can mail the sheet to the Home Office. The email address you should send it to is under the submission sheet.

    You must attach proof of payment of the application fee and your supporting documents to the mail. It is also required that your authorising officer be the one to send the application on behalf of your business.

    If there is a reason why you cannot send the application by mail, you can send it via post to the address the Home Office provided on the submission sheet.

    The application you are sending to the Home Office has to carry the following:

    • The name of the industry your institution is under.
    • The contact details of your institution’s authorising officer.
    • The role description of the teacher(s).
    • The exact role of the person you intend to sponsor.
    • The amount you intend to pay the teacher. (This must be in tandem with the wage rules stipulated by the Home Office).
    • The institution’s organisational chart that shows the managers, owners and directors.
    • The position of the teacher on the organisational chart.
    • The operating hours of your institution.
    • The skill, education and experience needed for the teaching role.

    Documents Needed for the Sponsorship Application

    Below are the documents you must submit when applying for a sponsorship licence.

    • Insurance policy covering your institution.
    • Proof that your institution owns its premises or is paying rent.
    • Account statement of your institution.
    • Audit account of your institution in the past fiscal year.
    • Proof that your institution is duly registered and recognised in the UK.
    • Evidence that your institution pays taxes.

    When using the email for application, your supporting documents must be in any of these 3 formats: JPEG, PNG or PDF. Also, name every document correctly to avoid confusing the Home Office when they are looking over your document.

    If you are uploading your account statement, name the document as ‘bank account statement’. While you embrace clarity in your naming, brevity is also essential. The name or title of each document must not exceed 25 characters.

    The content of each document must be clear and easy to read.

    Lastly, if the words in your documents are not written in Welsh or English, you must get a certified translation.

    Immigration Charges & Application Fees

    The immigration charges and application fees to be paid depend on the size of your school. Below is a breakdown of the costs depending on your institution size:

    Small Institution

    • £536 for the licence application fee. You do not need to pay any fee if your institution sponsors teachers temporarily.
    • £364 as an immigration skill charge for 1 year and an additional £182 for 6 months.
    • £199 for each certificate of sponsorship (CoS) issued.

    Medium/Big Institution

    • £1,476 for the licence application fee.
    • £940 to add a skilled worker licence to an existing temporary licence.
    • £1000 for 1 year and an additional £500 for 6 months as the immigration skill charge.
    • £199 for each certificate of sponsorship issued.

    But how do you know if your school is small, medium-sized or big according to the standards set by the Home Office?

    The Home Office sees your institution as small if any of the two conditions below applies to your school:

    • Your school has 50 employees or fewer.
    • Your school’s assets are not worth more than £5.1 million.
    • Your school’s annual turnover is not above £10.2 million.

    If you do not fall into at least 2 of these categories, then you are a medium-sized or big institution.

    The Home Office would need at least 8 weeks to process and give a reply to your application. Upon approval, you get a sponsor licence valid for 4 years. At the end of the 4 years, you’ll have to apply for a renewal.

    You get an ‘A’ licence rating if your application is approved. This also certifies that you have the right to issue CoS.

    Should you break the terms of your sponsor licence, your ratings will downgrade to a ‘B’ licence, and you cannot sponsor anyone till you upgrade.

    If the Home Office downgrades your rating, you cannot appeal the decision; you must wait for 1 year and then reapply.

    Looking to hire an overseas teacher? Contact us today for assistance with your sponsorship license application.

    Issue A Certificate Of Sponsorship (CoS) To Future Employees

    After reviewing the hiring process and ensuring the prospective employee passes all safety checks, you can issue CoS. The certificate of sponsorship must contain the date you want them to resume, how much you are offering as salary and other benefits the employee stands to gain.

    If you intend to offer accommodation or pay them certain amounts as relocation stipends, you must also make this clear in the CoS.

    Let your future employees know they have 3 months to apply for a skilled worker visa with the CoS. If they delay, and the 3 months elapse, you will have to issue and pay for a new CoS for them.

    Qualification Requirements For Overseas Teachers

    It is required that teachers in England attain the English qualified teacher status (QTS). This status shows that the teacher is equipped and able to teach according to UK standards.

    However, overseas teachers don’t have to attain QTS before teaching abroad for the initial 4 years.

    A 4-year exemption rule allows overseas teachers to teach without QTS. But before the QTS requirement is waived for an overseas teacher, they’d have to show:

    • They qualify as teachers in their home country, outside of the UK.
    • They have sufficient teacher training recognised by the body in charge of teachers in the same country.

    Note that whether the teacher has QTS or not, you’ll have to pay the minimum wage stipulated by the Home Office.

    The 4-year exception rule doesn’t apply to:

    • Alternative provision-free institutions because the QTS is a requirement from the onset of employment.
    • Alternative provision academies.
    • Pupil referral units.

    Note that maternity, paternity, parental, adoption or pregnancy leaves do not count towards the 4-year exemption rule.

    Overseas teachers don’t need QTS to work as teaching assistants or instructors teaching vocational subjects.

    After 4 years, the teacher in your institution can apply to get QTS while still teaching in your school. The QTS is currently open for application to teachers from 47 countries.

    If you know your employee has sufficient teacher training, they can take the assessment-only QTS route instead of training all over again.

    Note that you can check the QTS status of your teacher by visiting the Home Office’s website.

    How To Hire Teachers From Overseas: The Full Process

    Below are the steps to take if you want to hire qualified teachers from abroad:

    Check Immigration and Visa Sponsorship Rules

    If you want to hire overseas trained teachers, you must know their visa or immigration status in order to know if you need to sponsor them. If you do not have the licence to sponsor them, you must first apply for your sponsorship licence.

    Check Immigration and Visa Charges

    It is also vital to ensure you have enough money to undertake sponsorship. There are certain fees you have to pay to get a sponsor licence. You also have to pay for each CoS you issue. You have to count the cost before you proceed.

    Put Up A Vacancy

    The Home Office has a section on its website where you can advertise teaching jobs with visa sponsorship in your school. The platform is free to use, and you can use it to reach teaching applicants worldwide.

    In your job ad, you should carefully list all the qualifications you need for the role. You are also free to demand qualifications transcending academic brilliance if they improve how your students will learn and develop.

    Organise An Interview

    The onus is on you to shortlist and then organise an interview for candidates. Since the applicants are overseas, interviews can be held online.

    You know what you want from the employee, so you must find ways to ensure you get the candidate best fit for the role. Also, ensure the candidate meets the English language requirement needed to apply for a work visa.

    Make an Offer

    If you are impressed with your candidate, you can make them a conditional offer and issue CoS.

    Do Background Checks

    The safety of your students is paramount. Hence, you are required to do due diligence. Here are some safety checks you can do:

    • Get an enhanced DBS certificate for the employee. Note that this can only be done after their visa is approved.
    • Check if the applicant is prohibited from teaching in England.
    • Get the applicant to submit a criminal record certificate.
    • Search the candidate online to see if any unusual thing crops up.
    • Get employment history from the applicant.
    • Get the applicant to submit the contact of their two most recent references. Send an email to them to get an opinion on the candidate.

    Help the Employee Settle in the UK

    You can help them find a place to live, open a bank account, register with a doctor, and apply for an insurance number. You can also get them up to speed with how your institution functions.

    Hiring an overseas teacher can be complex. Contact our expert team for a seamless application process.

    Option To Recruit Teachers Without Sponsoring Them

    You also have the opportunity to hire teachers who do not need sponsorship. Here are categories of teachers you can employ without needing to sponsor them:

    • Teachers who are Irish citizens.
    • Teachers with pre-settled or settled status under the EU settlement scheme.
    • Teachers who hold ILR.
    • Teachers on a graduate visa.
    • Teachers on high potential individual visas.
    • Teachers on the youth mobility scheme visa.
    • Teachers on family, BNO or UK ancestry visas.
    • Teachers who are dependents of an international student or skilled worker.

    How IAS Can Help With The Immigration Aspect Of Hiring Teachers

    IAS has immigration lawyers with years of expertise in UK immigration and employment laws. We can help you review your institution size, guide you on how to apply for a sponsor licence and estimate how much it would cost you.

    We know how disheartening it can be to get a sponsor licence rejected after resources and time have been expended on the application. But this is why our team is available: to increase your chances of getting approval.

    Sometimes, sponsoring an applicant on a skilled worker visa can be a handful. This often discourages employers from getting the talents they need abroad. But don’t worry; we can ease that burden, make the necessary applications on your behalf, and help your candidate apply from their end if needed.

    Do you want to speak with us or know more about our services? Call us at +44 (0)333 305 9375 or message us online.

    We offer immigration advice sessions as face to face appointments at our Lagos office, all of our UK offices, or via the phone.

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    The teachers in most demand in the UK currently are English, music, history, science and modern language teachers for secondary school. Due to this, the UK has opened a pathway to recruit teachers to the UK.

    To get a work visa for UK teachers, you must apply for a vacancy and meet the requirements stipulated by your prospective employer. If the employer is okay with your application, after interviews, they will issue you an offer and a CoS with which you can apply for a visa.


    Nigerians can become teachers in the UK. Starting from February 1, 2023, the UK now considers Nigerian citizens eligible to teach in the UK.


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