Hiring talent from overseas is an excellent way to plug a skills gap in your business. This is typically something employers will look at doing when they have exhausted all other options from training, to upskilling existing employees, to going to market and sourcing the skills locally. If you are looking to sponsor an existing employee who is currently working on a visa this can be a daunting process. We’re looking at this ourselves so today, in part 1 of my blog series, I’ll be looking at our journey in sponsoring an employee from overseas.

The chances are, you’re reading this blog because you’ve come to a stage in your recruitment process where you’ve realised you need to explore recruiting or retaining talent from overseas. This project has recently been assigned to me because a valued member of our team is here on a visa and it is set to expire in Summer of next year.

The responsibility of making sure our internal process is correct, that I get the application right first time and knowing that I need to deal with the Home Office directly has been, and continues to be, a little bit overwhelming.


The quest for information

First things first, I need information. When I’m researching anything, as most people do now, my first port of call was the internet. After tapping a few questions into a search engine, I found the internet is littered with immigration solicitors / specialists offering to support you through the process, advice on how best to approach it and a list of criteria each employer must fulfill. A lot of information in a lot of different places.

I quickly figured out before I do anything, I needed to assess whether we are eligible to sponsor. The GOV UK sponsorship website has become my most trusted point of call and I’d recommend you use it too. It’s easy to navigate and has, from what I can see so far, all the information needed to get you on track.

So long as your business is legitimate, you haven’t previously had unspent criminal convictions or a history of not carrying out your sponsorship duties, it seems as though it’s possible for your business to apply for a sponsorship license. Check out the suitability checks section of this page for more information.


Getting help

Now if you’ve got this far (which isn’t far at all) you may be beginning to wonder whether it’s worth employing someone externally to help you with the sponsorship process. I called a specialist immigration firm of solicitors and am now in the process of weighing up the cost to the business of hiring external support, vs the business cost of doing it myself. We are in the fortunate position that we have 6 months ahead of us before we need this to be complete, so I think it will be best for us, and for my learning experience, that I complete the process. However, if you need to get through this process as quickly as possible, it’s perhaps worth looking to use an external agent to help you through.


What I’ve learned so far

  • To sponsor an employee from overseas on a Tier 2 visa, we need to have at least one user who is Level 1 HR
  • The position the worker is filling is a position that we couldn’t otherwise fill using our local talent pool ( Find out whether the position fits the criteria to immediately apply or if you will need to advertise here )
  • We need a HR process to support a migrant worker
  • Even if you are sponsoring a current employee, you will need to advertise the position in 2 different places for at least 28 days and hold interviews where applicable.
  • Once this process is complete, and only then, are you able to proceed with completing an application for a sponsorship licence.

As you can see it’s early days for us and it has taken more time than I am prepared to admit to get this far. So if like me, you’re finding this a challenging but interesting journey, check in again soon for my next installment.

I’m off to write a job advert now and see if we can fill our position with our local talent!



This blog post was written by Laura Williams, our Operations Manager.

You can connect with Laura on LinkedIn here!

If you’re hiring for your team, find out how we can help or you can check out our latest jobs!