Types of licence

The licence you need depends on whether the workers you want to fill your jobs are:

  • ‘Workers’ - for skilled or long-term employment
  • ‘Temporary workers’ - for specific types of temporary employment

You can apply for a licence covering one or both types of worker.

Worker licence

A ‘Worker’ licence will let you sponsor people in different types of skilled employment. The skilled work can be for a short time, long-term or permanent depending on the worker’s visa.

The licence is split into:

  • Skilled Worker - the role must meet the job suitability requirements
  • Senior or Specialist Worker visa (Global Business Mobility) - for multinational companies which need to transfer established employees to the UK, previously the Intra-company Transfer visa
  • Minister of Religion - for people coming to work for a religious organisation
  • International Sportsperson - for elite sportspeople and coaches who will be based in the UK

Temporary Worker licence

A ‘Temporary Worker’ licence will let you sponsor people on a temporary basis, including for volunteering and job-shadowing. You can only get a Temporary Worker licence for specific types of employment and visas.

The licence is split into:

  • Scale-up Worker - for people coming to work for a fast-growing UK business
  • Creative Worker - to work in the creative industry, for example as an entertainer or artist (up to 2 years)
  • Charity Worker - for unpaid workers at a charity (up to 1 year)
  • Religious Worker - for those working in a religious order or organisation (2 years)
  • Government Authorised Exchange - work experience (1 year), research projects or training, for example practical medical or scientific training (2 years) to enable a short-term exchange of knowledge
  • International Agreement - where the worker is coming to do a job which is covered by international law, for example employees of overseas governments
  • Graduate Trainee (Global Business Mobility) - for workers transferring to their employer’s UK branch as part of a graduate training programme
  • Service Supplier (Global Business Mobility) - for workers with a contract to provide services for a UK company (6 or 12 months)
  • UK Expansion Worker (Global Business Mobility) - for workers sent to the UK to set up a new branch or subsidiary of an overseas business
  • Secondment Worker (Global Business Mobility) - for workers transferring from overseas to work for a different UK business as part of a high-value contract
  • Seasonal Worker – allows people to come to the UK and work in horticulture (for example, picking fruit and vegetables) for up to 6 months, or poultry from 18 October to 31 December each year

If you’re currently sponsoring pork butchery workers who are on the Seasonal Worker visa, you can continue. New applications for pork butchery workers are closed and will not reopen.

If you’re sponsoring a scale-up worker

Your sponsorship responsibilities as a sponsor for a scale-up worker will end 6 months after they get permission to come to or stay in the UK.

After that, a scale-up worker can do any of the following until their visa expires:

  • continue working for you without getting a new certificate of sponsorship
  • change jobs without getting a new sponsor