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Self Sponsorship UK

UK Self-Sponsorship Visas are a practical solution for those wishing to conduct business and settle in the UK.

The concept of self-sponsorship is utilised by businesspersons wishing to come to the UK and work for their own businesses. 

It can also be used as a route to secure permanent residency and British Citizenship for applicants and their family members. 

Advantages of Self – Sponsorship

Self-sponsorship is an excellent alternative to the more burdensome routes into the UK to conduct your business. 

Advantages include:

  • Flexibility – you can run any type of business you choose. Unlike other routes, no endorsement or consultation is required nor does your business idea need to be unique or new to the market. You do not need to have previous experience in your chosen type of business as long as you show you have transferrable skills. 
  • Independence – you are not dependent on anyone else. You work for your own company without fear of losing your visa.
  • No minimum investment requirement 
  • You can be a 100% shareholder of your business and Director
  • If your company is a start up, then it does not need to be trading 
  • You can purchase all or a share of a company that is trading
  • This is a route to permanent residency and British Citizenship
  • You can bring your spouse and dependent children
  • Generous travel – permits 180 days outside of the UK each year

Self-Sponsorship Simplified

  1. Establish and register a UK company
  2. The company must have either an employee or Director who is resident in the UK in order to fulfil the role of ‘Authorising Officer’ to apply for a sponsor license
  3. Apply for a Sponsor Licence for that company
  4. Apply for a Skilled Worker Visa for you to work at that company
  5. Enter the UK with entry clearance and leave to remain  initially for 5 years to run your business, which is extendable.

These steps are usually completed within 6 to 8 months.

Further Information – Step 1: Establish and Register a UK business

You are able to register a UK company from overseas. Significantly, there is no requirement for a Director of a UK company to be settled in the UK or a British citizen. There is however a requirement that all directors of UK companies meet specified requirements and obligations. 

BHD Solicitors have partnered with company formation specialists to ensure that your company registration process is completed smoothly and efficiently. This is imperative for start up companies. 

Your company must then be registered with HMRC for PAYE and VAT.
A business bank account must also be set up.
You should then obtain Employers Liability Insurance.

A business plan should be prepared and include an explanation as to what the company will do, your role in the business, marketing strategies and funding and financial forecasts, and detailed information as to how the company would meet its responsibilities as a company with a sponsor license.

Step 2: Apply for a Sponsor Licence

The Sponsorship Licence application is submitted online with the required supporting evidence.

To successfully obtain a Sponsor Licence the Home Office must be satisfied that:

  1. The company is a genuine organisation operating lawfully in the UK. To prove this the following documents must be submitted:

a) Most recent UK bank statement, showing funds in account (There is no minimum investment requirement but you will need to show you have sufficient investment funds to grow your UK business and cover minimum salary levels)

b) Employer’s Liability Insurance

c) VAT certificate

d) PAYE and Accounts Reference Number

To strengthen the application the following should also be submitted:

a)   Evidence of a business website and email address

  1. A business plan
  2. A company hierarchy chart to confirm current staff and vacancies.
  1. You have not engaged in behaviour considered not conducive to the public good. To determine this, the background of Key Personnel named in the application will be checked. Key Personnel are:
  1. Authorising Officer 
  2. Key Contact
  3. Level 1 User – must be settled in UK

Key Personnel must be based in the UK, have no criminal convictions, be an employee, partner or director and cannot be your partner or relative

  1. You are capable of carrying out your sponsor duties. This is judged by considering the company’s human resources and practices and the systems in place. A compliance check may be conducted.

BHD Solicitors will provide you with full training and a detailed human resource compliance pack and ongoing advice and assistance to ensure you remain complaint with your duties. Full audit training is also provided in preparation for compliance checks.

  1. You can offer genuine employment that meets the required skill and salary requirements.

Once granted, the Sponsor Licence is valid for 4 years and must be renewed.

Stage 3: Apply for a Skilled Worker Visa 

The company will need to assign you a defined Certificate of Sponsorship.

You can then apply for a Skilled Worker Visa. 

To successfully apply as a skilled worker you must demonstrate:

  • Your Certificate of Sponsorship is valid;
  • Your job offer is a genuine vacancy;
  • You have the suitable experience, skill or qualification to do the job
  • Your job is at an appropriate skill level;
  • You will be paid a salary which equals or exceeds a general salary threshold, the ‘going rate’ for the occupation and a minimum hourly rate (if applicable);
  • Your sponsor has paid any required Immigration Skills Charge;
  • You are competent in the English language to at least CEFR Level B1 
  • You have enough money to support yourself without relying on public funds;
  • You have provided a criminal record certificate, if required; and
  • You have provided a valid TB certificate, if required.

The ‘genuine vacancy’ requirement is of great significance. As you are the owner of the company and intend to sponsor yourself, your application will be under extra scrutiny by the Home Office. The Home Office will refuse the application if they conclude that the job you are offering yourself has been created mainly for the purpose of you applying for a UK visa. The Home Office must be persuaded that the job role is genuinely required by your business and that you have the appropriate qualifications, skills and experience to do the job. We will assist you to make clear that your application is genuine.

Your skilled worker visa will be valid for 5 years. 

After these 5 years you will be eligible to apply for settlement in the UK followed by British Citizenship. 

If you are interested in applying for Self Sponsorship or any other UK immigration route, BHD Solicitors are here to help.

We are committed to supporting businesses and individuals and we will work tirelessly to produce the best outcomes for you and your business. For over 30 years, our immigration specialists have dedicated themselves to putting the needs of our clients first, providing bespoke immigration advice designed to achieve your needs as efficiently and cost effectively as possible.

Independently recognised for our expertise

Our London immigration lawyers have been independently recognised for their expertise. We are accredited by the Law Society in Immigration and Asylum matters. We are also accredited in Immigration Law Advanced which signifies our expertise handling complex immigration work.

Our firm has been recognised as one of the leading Immigration teams in the South East by prestigious client guide, the Legal 500.

Get expert advice from business immigration solicitors in Croydon and London

To arrange a consultation with one of our senior UK business immigration solicitors, contact your local branch in London or Croydon.

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