UK visa sponsorship for employers

9. Job suitability

You can sponsor a worker if the job they’re going to do has a suitable rate of pay and skill level.

If your worker has a Tier 2 (General) or Tier 2 (Intra-company Transfer) visa, the job will usually need to be Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) level 6 or above.

Creative jobs

There are separate rates of pay and skill levels for:

Advertising the job

You may need to advertise the job you’re offering if it’s not on the shortage occupation list. This is known as carrying out the ‘resident labour market test’.

You must advertise any job you offer to a worker in the following categories:

  • Tier 2 (General)
  • Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) or Tier 5 (Religious Workers) unless it’s a non-essential position or involves living within a religious order (such as a monk or nun)
  • Tier 5 (Creative and Sporting) in the creative and entertainment sector, unless you can explain why the job can’t be done by a settled worker

You must place at least 2 adverts. Follow the rules in the ‘How to carry out the resident labour market test’ section of the guidance for sponsors.

The adverts make sure that there are no suitable workers already living permanently in the UK. It must be a genuine vacancy.

How long to advertise the job for

Each advert must run in the UK for 28 days in most cases, either continuously or in 2 stages.

If you advertise in 2 stages, each advert still needs to run for a total of 28 days and neither stage can be less than 7 days.

You must be able to show that you didn’t find a suitable worker.

Sponsoring under-18s

You can’t sponsor a foreign worker under 18 for:

  • a Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) visa
  • a Tier 5 (Temporary Worker - International Agreement) visa - if they’ll be working as a private servant in a diplomatic household or in the household of an employee of an international organisation

You can’t sponsor a child under 16 for a Tier 2 visa.