How to sponsor workers from outside the UK

Published on: 15/03/2023


UK businesses can sponsor overseas worker or non-settled worker already within the UK once successfully being granted a sponsor licence.

Eligibility Requirements

To sponsor an overseas or non-settled worker already within the UK, employers must ensure that they offer them a job that they will perform at a suitable rate of pay and skill level, in addition to other criteria.

What type of sponsor licence do you need

For new candidates based either inside or outside the UK, your business will need a Worker licence in the Skilled Worker category. For existing employees of overseas entities linked by common ownership or control to your UK business, you will need to apply for a GBM: Senior or Specialist Worker licence. A Temporary Worker licence is only required if you require sponsored workers in certain roles for short periods of time, such as seasonal horticultural workers.

Main UK visa options for businesses

Under the UK’s points-based immigration system, the main visa routes for non-settled workers include Skilled Worker visas, Global Business Mobility: Senior/Specialist Worker visas, and Temporary Worker visas. Each of these visa types requires sponsorship by a licensed employer.

Ongoing Responsibilities

Once the visa has been granted, you must ensure you remain compliant with the ‘Sponsor Duties’ that you signed up to when you applied for the Sponsor Licence.

Legal Support

We can support your business with all aspects of hiring non-settled workers. Our UK immigration team provides a comprehensive approach, preparing the entire licence application, taking into account the commercial considerations for your business.


This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking professional and legal advice. Please refer to the full General Notices on our website.