Visa sponsorship is a process where a UK-based company sponsors a foreign worker to live and work in the UK. This is crucial for IT companies looking to hire skilled professionals from outside the UK.

Key Sponsorship Routes for IT Professionals

  1. Skilled Worker Visa

    • Eligibility: The job must be on the list of eligible occupations, and the candidate must meet the skill and salary requirements.
    • Salary Requirements: Generally, the job must pay at least £25,600 per year, or the “going rate” for the job, whichever is higher.
    • Skill Level: The job must be at RQF Level 3 (equivalent to A-levels) or above.
    • English Proficiency: The candidate must demonstrate a good command of English.

  2. Global Talent Visa

    • Eligibility: For leaders or potential leaders in digital technology.
    • Endorsement: Requires an endorsement from a recognized UK body such as Tech Nation.
    • Flexibility: Does not require a job offer and offers greater flexibility compared to the Skilled Worker Visa.

  3. Intra-company Transfer Visa

    • Eligibility: For employees of multinational companies who are being transferred to the UK branch.
    • Salary Requirements: The job must pay at least £41,500 per year or the “going rate” for the job.
    • Employment Duration: The applicant must have worked for the company for at least 12 months, unless they earn over £73,900 per year.

Sponsorship Process for IT Companies

  1. Obtain a Sponsor License

    • Application: Apply online and pay the applicable fee.
    • Supporting Documents: Provide documents to prove your company is genuine and capable of sponsoring.
    • Compliance: Show that you understand and can meet your sponsor duties.

  2. Assign a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS)

    • Types of CoS:
      • Defined CoS: For Skilled Worker visa applicants outside the UK.
      • Undefined CoS: For all other types of visa applications.
    • Details: Include details about the job, salary, and candidate.

  3. Sponsor Responsibilities

    • Record Keeping: Maintain records of employees’ contact details, job titles, and salary.
    • Monitoring: Track employees’ immigration status and report changes to the Home Office.
    • Compliance: Ensure that the sponsored workers comply with the conditions of their visa.

Benefits of Sponsoring IT Professionals

  1. Access to a Global Talent Pool

    • Enables companies to hire the best talent regardless of nationality.
    • Helps fill skill gaps in the local labor market.
  2. Competitive Advantage

    • Attracting top talent can lead to innovation and business growth.
    • Enhances the company’s reputation as a global employer.
  3. Business Expansion

    • Facilitates the transfer of key employees to the UK branch.
    • Supports the global mobility of staff within multinational companies.

Challenges and Considerations

  1. Cost and Administrative Burden

    • Application fees, immigration health surcharge, and potential legal fees can be significant.
    • Administrative responsibilities for compliance can be time-consuming.
  2. Regulatory Changes

    • Immigration rules and policies can change, affecting sponsorship processes.
    • Companies must stay updated with the latest regulations to avoid penalties.
  3. Retention and Integration

    • Ensuring that sponsored employees feel integrated and valued within the company.
    • Addressing any cultural and relocation challenges they may face.