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UK Finance Visa: A Guide For Employers Hiring From Overseas

In recent years, the UK has had more finance and banking vacancies than ever before. However, the UK is managing to fill more and more empty roles with overseas workers.

If you are a business looking to hire overseas workers in the UK in the finance and banking industry, getting help in understanding the process can help the hiring process go smoothly. IAS is here to help and can provide legal advice to guide you through the process of hiring overseas workers. Contact us today at +44 (0)333 305 9375 or give us an email to get started.

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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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    How To Hire Bankers And Finance Staff From Overseas

    The UK has always been a very popular destination for workers from overseas, thanks to the variety and volume of available positions. However, the rules around getting a finance work visa in the UK have recently changed, and it has happened to have put a few workers from overseas off of the concept of applying, especially in banking and finance.

    Figures denote that nearly 20% of all UK jobs for finance service employees come from abroad. So, as an employer, it is important to know your role in hiring an overseas employee to help bring staff from overseas.

    Since the UK departed from the European Union in early 2020, there were new rules that were put into place for those who wanted to work and live in the United Kingdom. For these individuals to move to the UK, overseas workers would now have to meet a certain set of criteria.

    However, these workers would also need to get sponsorship from an employer as well as a visa to relocate.

    UK Finance Visa Type


    Four specific types of visas will allow an overseas worker to relocate to the United Kingdom under the new rules.

    These are:

    Is your business in a need for finance staff? Want to hire from overseas? Speak to our immigration team today.

    Skilled Worker Visas

    This type of visa was introduced at the beginning of 2021. The Skilled Worker Visa enables foreign nationals to work and live in the United Kingdom’s banking and finance sector, as long as they also have a confirmed job offer from an organisation or company in the UK. This could include a finance assistant, other relevant banking jobs, or other finance employment that may be on the shortage occupation list.

    To be eligible for a Skilled Worker Visa, the applicant needs to meet the following criteria:

    • The job they have been offered is considered an eligible role under this specific visa scheme.
    • The employer in the UK is an approved employer by the Home Office.
    • The job that the employee has been offered needs to pay a minimum of £10.75 per hour or £26,200 per year.

    This visa typically has a five-year term; after this period, the visa might be able to be renewed for a certain amount of time, in some situations.

    This type of visa type is generally available only to those who have qualifications and experience working in a specific sector.

    High Potential Visas

    Those who may not be eligible for a Skilled Worker visa, in some cases simply due to a lack of experience, can find an alternative option in the High Potential Visa. This is a visa type that is available to those who have graduated from eligible international universities over the most recent five years and can demonstrate having the potential to provide more value to the workforce in the United Kingdom.

    This visa came in during May 2022 and offers a two-year short-term gateway into the UK for overseas nationals. The only condition is that their university is on the accredited list.

    This work visa can work well in accounting, economics, and finance.

    Global Expansion

    The Global Expansion visa is available for those who are employed by a bank or finance company abroad and are given the task of opening a brand new brand of company in the UK.

    For an applicant to be eligible for this type of visa, they must fit a particular set of criteria. These criteria include:

    • Work for a finance or banking company that is outside of Great Britain.
    • Have a Certificate of Sponsorship from their employer that is valid.
    • Are paid a minimum salary as eligible for the job.
    • Have experience in a job that is on the list of eligible occupations.

    This visa is valid for a year (twelve months), although in some situations, extensions can be granted once this term ends. If the worker needs an extension, it is best to apply for this well in advance of the end of the existing contract. If this is not done, it could cause issues.

    Specialists or Senior Workers

    The Senior or Specialist Worker Visa replaced the intra-company transfer visa recently. This is a visa that gives senior managers and senior employees the chance to be able to undertake work assignments temporarily in the United Kingdom.

    The Senior or Specialist Worker Visa is one aspect of the new Global Business Mobility Visa route.

    For an applicant to be considered eligible for this visa, they need to meet certain criteria. These criteria include the following:

    • Have a Certificate of Sponsorship from the UK employer that is thoroughly detailed.
    • Earn a salary of a minimum of £42,000 per annum.
    • Have a job that is included on the eligible occupations list.
    • Be an employee of an approved company of the UK Home Office.

    This visa will not lead to permanent UK residence, however. It is wise to be aware that time spent on this visa will also not contribute towards a settlement for indefinite leave to remain.

    Yet, should a specialist or senior worker visa holder wish to apply to gain indefinite leave to remain in the country, they do have the opportunity to switch their visa to options such as the Skilled Worker visa, which does lead to this.

    Considering to hire overseas workers? Our immigration team can assist you. Contact us today.

    How To Obtain A Sponsor Licence As An Employer Or A Business


    Each type of visa that can be used for finance workers needs to be sponsored by a licensed business or employer.

    To employ a worker under any of the aforementioned visas, employers need to first apply to get a visa sponsorship licence with UK Visas and Immigration (otherwise known as UKVI), which is the Home Office division that is responsible for immigration to the UK.

    The Home Office and the UK government rely on visa sponsorship licences to prevent illegal workers and misuse of immigration into the UK.

    When a business agrees to become a sponsored licence holder, it assumes particular compliance responsibilities by doing so, which at the same time exposes the business to scrutiny from the Home Office in the event of non-compliance.

    Having a sponsorship licence ensures that the following legal compliance regulations are met:

    • The roles that are being sponsored meet requirements for the salary paid, skill level, and overall genuineness.
    • The sponsor meets all of the relevant compliance duties (immigration compliance) that are expected of a business when they sponsor a migrant worker.
    • Workers who are sponsored meet all of the point requirements, as long as they are suitably qualified and have the required language skills.

    If the duties are not completed by the business, this can result in enforcement action from the Home Office.

    This can range from substantial fines to even having your sponsor licence revoked. This can result in your visa worker(s) losing their employment, and their visa can even be curtailed, which would result in them having to leave the country early.

    Requirements Of A Sponsor Licence

    The Home Office will use applications to assess the ability of the employer to meet suitability and eligibility needs. There aren’t any restrictions on the type or size of organisation that can gain a visa sponsorship licence. The only criteria are that they meet the Home Office’s suitability criteria and eligibility for the category or tier of sponsorship that they are applying for.

    That being said, should the employer fail to meet suitability or eligibility criteria, this will result in the application being refused.

    What Makes An Organisation Eligible?

    1. The organisation needs to be considered a legitimate operation. The organisation need not have been trading for any particular period, yet there does need to be someone who is a resident in the UK who is working at the organisation and can liaise with the Home Office regarding any application queries.
    2. The organisation also needs to be UK-based. If the organisation lacks a trading or operating presence in the UK, an application will be refused. Even businesses that are virtual with no physical premises can still apply for a licence, yet the business does need to meet sponsor obligations and duties and prove they operate and trade under the law in the UK.

    What Makes An Organisation Suitable?

    1. The organisation needs to be offering a genuine job that meets the criteria for a Skilled Worker. There may be additional information required about the role and its duties.
    2. The business needs to have recruitment and HR systems in place to ensure it is capable of complying with its duties and responsibilities and proving evidence of compliance.
    3. The organisation, its directors, owners, and key appointed staff have no unspent criminal convictions.
    4. The business represents no threat to immigration control and has no history of non-compliance.
    5. The business has appropriate planning permissions or consent from the Local Planning Authority if necessary.

    Stay Compliant. Our expert team can assist you in obtaining a sponsor license in the UK. Contact us today.

    Sponsoring Overseas Finance Workers: The Process

    Once an organisation has their licence and is certain that the role it wishes to hire a migrant to meet legal requirements, the Sponsor Management System can be implemented to apply for a Certificate of Sponsorship for the migrant.

    The Certificate of Sponsorship, once created and assigned to an employee, is then used by the employee to apply for their visa. This certificate is necessary to have before the employee’s visa application.

    This is part of why it is so critical that businesses apply for their visa sponsorship licence before the employee’s visa application. A business should apply for a sponsor licence as soon as they decide to hire a worker from overseas. This should allow time for the application process, decision, set-up, and for a certificate to be issued.

    IAS Can Help Businesses With The Sponsorship Licence

    Getting a visa sponsorship licence can be tricky, as the process is very complex. Ensuring the application is adequately filled out and done so in a manner that is beneficial to the application can ensure a swift and smooth process that has a low chance of denial.

    IAS has a team of expert lawyers and legal advisors who are well-versed in dealing with sponsorship licences and can ensure that a business applying for a visa sponsorship licence sees success. Whether you need advice on the process, what you need to apply, or how the process works, the team can help.

    The team is also able to help with collecting necessary documents and filling out the form, and they can even liaise with the Home Office as your application is processed.

    Speak to a member of our team today and get started on your sponsorship licence application. Just give us a call at +44 (0)333 305 9375 or send us an email to get started.

    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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