- Cost of a sponsor licence
- Cost of sponsoring a Skilled Worker
- Certificate of sponsorship
- Immigration Skills Charge
- Visa application fee
- Immigration Health Surcharge
- Optional add-ons for applicants
- Premium service for employers
- Who pays?
- Case study
- Single worker
- Worker with partner
Sponsoring a foreign worker isn’t cheap. Application fees and visa taxes typically run to thousands of pounds. Since the UK left the European Union, the costs of sponsorship have also applied to employers who want to hire EU workers under the Points Based Immigration System.
Some of the fees are levied directly on the employer, while others fall on the worker applying for the visa. Many employers cover them all rather than leaving the worker to pay substantial sums out of their own pocket.
This article gives a run-down of the various charges involved in a typical work visa application. In the specific case study we use, it comes to just under £7,000. All the figures quoted are available on the Home Office website.
Cost of a sponsor licence
When an organisation applies for a sponsor licence, the Home Office charges either:
- £536 if the organisation is a charity or defined as a small entity; or
- £1,476 for large sponsors.
Official guidance on sponsor licence applications shows how size and charitable status is determined. In general, the definitions in Chapter 1 of the Companies Act 2006 are used to determine size:
A company qualifies as small if it meets 2 of the below criteria in a financial year:(Video) Uk Work Visa That Does Not Require IELTS And Sponsorship | Eligibilities And Criteria
• turnover is not more than £10.2 million
• balance sheet total is not more than £5.1 million (aggregate of the amounts shown as assets in the company’s balance sheet)
• number of employees does not exceed 50 (taken as an average across the financial year)
Sponsor licences are valid for four years. It costs the same amount to renew it.
Cost of sponsoring a Skilled Worker
The UK’s main work visa route is called Skilled Worker. I’ve set out the various costs of a Skilled Worker application below. There are some exceptions to some of the fees (for example, those who are switching, international students, etc.) but these are the main ones that will apply to most workers.
Certificate of sponsorship
A certificate of sponsorship, or CoS, is issued by approved sponsors to workers they wish to hire. The worker then uses the CoS to apply for their Skilled Worker visa.
The cost of issuing each certificate of sponsorship is £199.
Immigration Skills Charge
This is essentially a tax levied on businesses for employing foreign workers.
For a small or charitable sponsor, the Immigration Skills Charge is £364 for the first year and £182 for each additional six months. So the cost of sponsoring someone for five years would be £1,820.
For a medium or large sponsor, the charge is £1,000 for the first year and £500 for each additional six months. The cost of sponsoring someone for five years would be £5,000.
Visa application fee
Then there is the headline visa application fee. Someone applying from outside the UK for a Skilled Worker visa is charged:
- visa up to three years in a non-shortage occupation: £625
- visa up to three years in a shortage occupation: £479
- visa for more than three years in non-shortage occupation: £1,235
- visa for more than years in a shortage occupation: £943
The exact fee can vary, for example if the person is applying from inside the UK. More details are here.
Immigration Health Surcharge
The Immigration Health Surcharge is a tax on visas, on top of the application fee outlined above. It is £624 for each year of the visa. So the Immigration Health Surcharge adds £3,120 to the cost of a five-year visa, £1,872 to a three-year visa and £624 for a one-year visa.
Like the application fee, it is nominally down to the worker to pay.
Optional add-ons for applicants
There is also a whole range of potential administration fees for things like faster visa processing, being able to keep your passport throughout the process, having a courier drop it off to you, being able to sit in a fancy lounge whilst waiting for the visa to be processed etc. (Many of these won’t apply to EU citizens as they will be applying for an e-visa.)
Premium service for employers
The Home Office also operates a premium service for sponsors. For a fee of £25,000 per year for a medium/large business, or £8,000 for a small business, a range of extras is promised — you can read about these here.
The above is just for the worker alone. Family members accompanying them to the UK are also liable for the visa application fee and Immigration Health Surcharge.
Before sponsorship goes ahead, I would always urge employers to check with the person whether they have family and to reach an agreement at the outset on who will bear what costs.
The sponsor can, for example, agree that the worker will pay their own application fee and Immigration Health Surcharge. Note that sponsors cannot lawfully pass the Immigration Skill Charge on to individuals. The licence fee is also paid by the sponsor.
Ben runs a small mail order business with lots of clients in Japan. He needs to sponsor a Japanese speaker to oversee the growth of sales to that country.
Ben eventually interviews Aki who is perfect for the role (and meets the requirements). They agree that he’ll sponsor Aki for five years. Ben has never hired from overseas before, so needs to get a sponsor licence first.
The cost will be:
- Sponsor licence: £536
- Certificate of sponsorship: £199
- Immigration Skills Charge: £1,820
- Immigration Health Surcharge: £3,120
- Application fee: £1,235
Total = £6,910.
Ben decides that a recruitment agent’s fee to find someone in the UK with the necessary skills would be around the same amount, so the cost is just about viable.
Worker with partner
Aki calls Ben a couple of days later and explains that, in addition to paying for the costs of sponsoring her, she can only accept the offer if Ben also pays for her husband’s visa.
That would be an extra £4,355. This represents the visa application fee plus Immigration Health Surcharge, which are the same for family members as they are for the sponsored worker.
That brings the total to £11,265. Ben can’t afford that, so sponsorship of Aki can’t proceed.
This article was originally published in February 2020 and has been updated to reflect the latest fees.
There’s lots wrong with our asylum, immigration and citizenship laws. If you want to be properly informed, check out my book Welcome to Britain, now available in paperback.
How much does it cost to sponsor someone to work in the UK? ›
How much does it cost a company to sponsor a visa UK? The sponsor licence application fee is £1,476 for large companies and £536 for small companies and charities. Additional fees also apply, including the cost of assigning a Certificate of Sponsorship to each visa worker, at £199.How much money do you need to sponsor someone to come to the UK? ›
You and your partner must have a combined income of at least £18,600 a year if: you're applying as a partner. you want to settle in the UK (get 'indefinite leave to remain') within 5 years.How much does it cost to sponsor an employee for a work visa? ›
The most common fees for nonimmigrant work visa sponsorship are: Petition fee: $460. Application fee: $190. American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act charges: $750 to $1,500.Is it easy to get work visa sponsorship in UK? ›
Is it difficult to get a UK work visa? Some UK work visas are more difficult to obtain than others, with different route-specific requirements. In many cases, the applicant will need to have the offer of a job meeting minimum skill and salary requirements from a licensed sponsor.Can a friend sponsor me to UK for work? ›
Yes someone can sponsor you but they will need to provide documentation to this matter.Can I get a UK work visa without sponsorship? ›
You must have a job offer from an approved UK employer before you apply for a Skilled Worker visa. Approved employers are also known as sponsors, because they are sponsoring you to come to or stay in the UK.How do I get sponsor for UK work visa? ›
- Check your business is eligible.
- Check if your job is suitable for sponsorship.
- Choose the type of licence you want to apply for - this will depend on what type of worker you want to sponsor.
- Decide who will manage sponsorship within your business.
- Apply online and pay the fee.
Most applications are dealt with in less than 8 weeks. UKVI may need to visit your business. You may be able to pay an extra £500 to get a decision within 10 working days. This service is limited to a small number of applications every working day.How much income do you need to sponsor someone? ›
Income Requirement to Become a Sponsor
The most common minimum financial requirement is an annual income of $22,000. This figure is calculated to be at least 125% above the Federal poverty level based on the ASPE.
How Much Does It Cost to Sponsor a Visa? In general, a visa sponsorship costs approximately $4000 but may cost $8-9,000 if a company has more than fifty employees and 50% of those employees are foreign nationals.
Is it hard to sponsor a work visa? ›
Sponsoring a visa for a foreign worker can be difficult with many visa applications requiring dozens of pages of documentation upon submittal. If you are looking to sponsor a foreign worker, it is essential you follow the correct procedures to ensure your worker is eligible to enter the country.What is required of an employer to sponsor a work visa? ›
As explained, getting a sponsorship employment visa requires you to have an offer from a US employer. The US employer must send you a contract to sign, which will then be part of the sponsorship documents. In some nonimmigrant visas the Department of Labor first requires a Labor Certification.Can I sponsor a friend for a work visa? ›
Can a U.S. citizen sponsor a non-family member for immigration? Unfortunately, no, you can't petition for a foreign national's visa or green card if they aren't a family member.Do UK companies offer visa sponsorship? ›
UK employers can only sponsor a foreign worker under 18 on: An International Sportsperson visa (must be 16 or over) A Creative Worker visa (no minimum age) A Government Authorised Exchange visa (no minimum age)How much bank balance is required for UK work visa? ›
UK skilled worker visa fees:
To maintain yourself once you are in the UK - you'll need at least £1,270 (unless you're exempt). In total, it would cost you around £1249 - £2047 for a UK Skilled worker visa and £1,270 as a bank balance.
Check if you need a sponsor licence
You'll usually need a sponsor licence to employ someone to work for you from outside the UK. You will not need a licence to sponsor certain groups, for example: Irish citizens. those with settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme.
Your friend or family member can apply for a visitor visa so they can visit you in the UK. Visitor visas are usually for up to 6 months.How do I get a work visa for UK from the US? ›
In order to submit an application for a UK Work Permit you must have first received an offer of employment (in the form of a certificate of sponsorship) from a UK employer who holds a sponsor licence issued by the UKBA.Can I move to UK without sponsorship? ›
UK visas without sponsors
Visit visas, family visas, and graduate visas do not require a sponsor in the UK. It is solely the work visas that require sponsorship in the UK. Most work visa, especially long-term ones, requires sponsorship for the application process.
It is possible to get a work visa or work permit in the UK without a job offer by applying for a High Potential Individual visa, Graduate visa, or Global Talent visa. While a job offer is not required, applicants will need to meet other criteria to make a successful application for an unsponsored work visa in the UK.
Who pays for certificate of sponsorship? ›
Certificate of Sponsorship cost
In addition to the licence application, sponsors will also have to pay to issue a Certificate of Sponsorship to each sponsored worker. The Certificate of Sponsorship is a mandatory requirement for skilled worker visa applicants to make their visa application.
As mentioned already the registration process can be quite difficult. The employer will need to submit an online application and provide a number of documents via email, in order to apply for a Sponsor Licence, and must accept a considerable number of responsibilities as a Sponsor once the sponsor licence is approved.What documents are needed for sponsorship? ›
- Affidavit of Support Form (Form I-134)
- Tourist Visa Invitation Letter.
- Tourist Visa Sponsor Letter.
- Financial Documents.
- Proof of Sponsor's Residency Status.
In most cases, there isn't an income requirement to sponsor your spouse or partner or dependent child. You only need to show that you have enough money to meet the income requirements if: you're sponsoring a dependent child that has 1 or more dependent children of their own, or.How long are you financially responsible for someone you sponsor? ›
Responsibilities as a Sponsor
When you sign the affidavit of support, you accept legal responsibility for financially supporting the sponsored immigrant(s), generally until they become U.S. citizens or are credited with 40 quarters of work.
You must be at least 18 years old and a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. You must have a domicile in either the U.S. or a U.S. territory or possession (i.e. you must live there). You must prove an income level at or above 125 percent of the Federal poverty level (100 percent for active duty military personnel).Can sponsorship be denied? ›
Many sponsorship applications are denied due to misrepresentation, whether accidental or deliberate. This occurs when the immigration officials find out that the information provided in your application is inaccurate. Sponsorship applications involve a lot of personal information.
Because the process of sponsoring a visa is a pain in the neck, employers generally don't want to take it on unless you're really worth it and have credentials they cannot easily get otherwise. Plus, employers typically assume liability for the actions of you and your dependents once in the country.How long does work sponsor visa take? ›
The USCIS generally takes three to six months to process a completed application, but employers may choose to expedite the process by paying for premium processing, which guarantees the USCIS will adjudicate the petition within 15 days. For more information, see How Do I Use the Premium Processing Service?How much does a work visa cost? ›
|Category||USCIS fees in U.S. dollars (valid until further notice)|
|I-129 (Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker)||$ 460|
|I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker||$ 700|
|I-539 Application to Extend / Change Nonimmigrant Status||$ 370|
|I-765 Application for Employment Authorization||$ 410|
Can an employer refuse to sponsor a visa? ›
What is the Company Policy on Sponsorship? U.S. employers are not required to sponsor employees for immigration. You can freely specify “no sponsorship” in a job ad and refuse to consider people who are not already authorized to work in the US.What are the cons of sponsoring an immigrant? ›
- 1) It's a long-term obligation. An Affidavit of Support is – at its core – a legally binding contract. ...
- 2) It can impact your financial situation. ...
- 3) It comes with some risks and liabilities.
Many clients have asked me about sponsoring their friends. Unfortunately, the only way that you can sponsor a person's visa or green card application is if you are the non-citizen's employer, relative, or fiancé(e). The U.S. immigration laws do not allow you to sponsor someone just because they are your friend.How much does it cost to sponsor an immigrant? ›
The minimum cost to petition a relative is $1,400-$1,900 per immigrant. Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative is the form that a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident submits to USCIS to sponsor a qualified relative for permanent residence in the United States.How much does it cost a company to sponsor a foreign worker? ›
How Much Does It Cost to Sponsor a Visa? In general, a visa sponsorship costs approximately $4000 but may cost $8-9,000 if a company has more than fifty employees and 50% of those employees are foreign nationals.How much does it cost to sponsor an employee? ›
Sponsoring a nonimmigrant employee for the H-1B can cost anywhere between $1,250 to $4,500 in filing fees alone, not including fees paid to attorneys to facilitate the process.How long does it take to sponsor an employee UK? ›
Most applications are dealt with in less than 8 weeks. UKVI may need to visit your business. You may be able to pay an extra £500 to get a decision within 10 working days. This service is limited to a small number of applications every working day.How much money do you need in your account to sponsor an immigrant? ›
Also, notice that the amounts are different for residents of Alaska and Hawaii. For example, in 2022, a sponsor in the U.S. mainland would need to have income (or assets) of at least $34,687 to cover a petitioner who lives alone and is sponsoring one immigrant and two children (that is, a total of four people).Do you have to make a certain amount of money to sponsor an immigrant? ›
Income Requirement to Become a Sponsor
You must meet certain income requirements to become a sponsor. The most common minimum financial requirement is an annual income of $22,000. This figure is calculated to be at least 125% above the Federal poverty level based on the ASPE.
Don't sell yourself short. Ask for $10,000 to $100,000 from each sponsor. "I see people asking for $1,000," she said.
Do I need sponsorship to work in the UK? ›
In order to apply for most work visas, you'll usually need to gain a job offer with sponsorship from an employer in the UK first. This employer must also be approved by the Home Office and be on itsr list of eligible employers.Do sponsorships cost money? ›
It's likely going to cost more than you expect, perhaps much more. Businesses and brands new to sponsorships are often surprised by the price tags that frequently accompany sponsorships. For example, just sponsoring a major party at the Super Bowl can cost between a quarter of a million to a million dollars.What does it take to sponsor a work visa? ›
As explained, getting a sponsorship employment visa requires you to have an offer from a US employer. The US employer must send you a contract to sign, which will then be part of the sponsorship documents. In some nonimmigrant visas the Department of Labor first requires a Labor Certification.How long can you stay in the UK without sponsorship? ›
certificate of sponsorship is cancelled. visa is limited to 60 days (or however long you have left on the visa if it's less than 60 days)