Self-Sponsorship: Start a business in the UK
According to the UK Immigration Rules, if a migrant skilled worker wants to work in the UK under a worker visa, you’ll need to be hired by a company that has a valid Sponsor License, and then you can apply for a Skilled Worker visa. However, the UK job market is very competitive. it can be very difficult to find a work visa sponsored job.
Did you know, there are 5.6 million companies in the UK (UK parliament data, 2021), however, there are only around 52k organisations registered as licensed sponsors for workers and temporary workers
For UK organisations, it can be costly for them if they want to hire a migrant skilled worker as the employer need to pay for the Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) fee and Immigration Surcharge (ISC) for every sponsored employee. Additionally, the sponsoring organisation has to take a lot of responsibilities with regards to monitoring, record keeping and reporting to comply with Home office guidance as a licensed sponsor.
WorkPermitCloud Limited has receives numerous queries from talented people across the globe who aspires to work in the UK but have difficulties in finding a sponsor. We would like to tell you that there’s another way that you can fulfil your career in the UK without relying on others. You can be your own sponsor, sound exciting! All you need to do is to set up a business in the UK and apply for a sponsor license to sponsor yourself.
Why is it possible?
In the past, there was a restriction of maximum 10% shareholding of the company if you would like to apply for a Tier 2 visa. However, since the Skilled Worker Visa scheme replaced the Tier 2 visa on 1 Dec 2020, there are no restrictions on shareholdings anymore. This means you can come to the UK under a Skilled Worker even if you are the only shareholder.
However, when you apply for the Skilled Worker Visa, please keep in mind that the role must be 'genuine', the job must not have been created primarily to allow you to apply for a visa.
Who is suitable for this?
- you want to set up your own business in the UK
- you have the financial ability to set up a business
- you own a UK business and want to continue to manage your business
- you want to fulfil your career by setting up your business and contributing to the UK economy
Who would qualify?
You can self-sponsor as long as you meet the following:
- have a business idea to start a business in the UK
- Or, you’ve purchased a business in the UK
- have sufficient resources (skills and financially) to support your business in the UK
Are there requirements for the type of business?
There are no restrictions on the type of business as long as it’s a legal business in the UK. You can open a café, IT company, shop etc.
Unlike the Start-up Visa, you’ll need a business idea that needs to be different from any others in the market, you also need to have an endorsing body to approve your business idea.
Are there any financial requirements for this route?
No, there’s no exact number required for how much money you need to have for your business, as long as you have sufficient funds to support the establishment of the business, it may vary depending on the type of business you’re establishing.
Unlike the Innovator Visa, you’ll need 50,000 investment funds for your business.
What’s the procedure of Self Sponsorship?
In summary, the procedure is to set up a business and apply for a sponsor license for your business and then sponsor yourself as a skilled worker. You can follow our step-by-step guide to process the Self-Sponsorship route.
Step 1: establish a business in the UK
Step 2: Apply for a sponsor License
There are certain documents required for a sponsor license application, you’ll need a minimum 4 of the following:
- Minimum 1-month business bank statement
- Copy of Lease OR freehold OR Tenancy agreement
- Employer liability insurance certificate (minimum employee cover £5 million)
- PAYEE OR Account Office reference letter from HMRC
- Copy of regulatory approval, i.e., Health & Safety star rating for food business, ACCA, SRA
- VAT Certificate (if registered)
- SIGNED Annual account (if the business is over 18 months old)
Step 3: Appointing an Authorizing Officer
You must appoint an Authorizing Officer (AO) during the application stages. The person needs to be your employee whom the Home Office will contact in regard to the application. (Any suitable employee for this role, such as managers/directors, or employee with good communication skills who has knowledge of this application)
If you don’t currently have a resident permit in the UK, you’ll need to appoint someone who is already a resident in the UK to be the Authorizing Officer and manage the SMS responsibilities.
Step 4: Have a robust HR system in place
As a mandatory requirement for sponsor license application, you must have a robust HR system in place to prove that you are able to comply with the sponsor duties for your skilled workers.
If you don’t have an HR system, WorkPermitCloud provides a one-stop solution namely WpcHr software which is designed based on the sponsor license guidance from the Home Office. We have hundreds of clients who have managed to comply with the rules and regulations mentioned by the immigration office.
Step 5: Get your Sponsor License
It usually takes around 8 weeks to get a decision from the Home Office.
Step 6: Assign CoS to a skilled worker
As there are no restrictions for the shareholdings of a skilled worker, you can assign a CoS to yourself and apply for a skilled worker visa. WorkPermitCloud can assist you with the CoS allocation and visa application.
How can WorkPermitCloud help you with your Self-Sponsorship journey:
At WorkPermitCloud Limited, we have been working closely with hundreds of small and medium enterprises to apply for their Sponsor License successfully
- Evaluate Organisation's sponsorship need.
- Determine the appropriate type of sponsorship license
- Check Organisation's previous business performance.
- Review Authorising officer, level 1 user, and Key contact person's fitness for the role.
- Recommend mandatory and supporting documents based on the nature of the organisation.
- Assist organisation to respond to Home Office questions with precise answers developed through an in-depth situation analysis.
- Provide guidance on sponsorship-related fees.
- Help organisation to avail fast track service from Home Office.
- Provide expert support for first-time sponsorship license applications
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org