Unlocking Global Talent: Work Visa Sponsorship

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Energi People Insights | Engineering News | Guidance for Employers | Market Insights

Posted 12.07.23

Work Visa Sponsorship

In today’s highly competitive and interconnected world, businesses face an increasing demand for top talent to drive innovation, growth, and global expansion. However, the scarcity of qualified candidates, particularly in certain specialised fields, presents a significant challenge. To overcome this hurdle, forward-thinking companies are embracing the idea of work visa sponsorship for foreign candidates.

Access to Global Talent

Sponsoring work visas opens the doors to a huge pool of highly skilled and diverse professionals worldwide. It allows companies to tap into talent markets that may have a surplus of qualified candidates in fields where local availability is limited. By broadening the search to international talent, companies can secure the expertise necessary to address specific skills gaps and boost their competitive advantage.

Competitive Advantage

In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, companies that can attract and retain top talent gain a distinct competitive edge. Sponsoring work visas signals an organization’s commitment to global talent acquisition, fostering a reputation as an inclusive and diverse employer. This positive brand image can attract high-calibre professionals who value opportunities to work in a multicultural environment. A more diverse workforce has been proven to bring new thinking that helps drive innovation, enhancing the companies overall performance.

Addressing Skill Shortages

Certain industries are facing acute skill shortages, Engineering especially, leaving companies struggling to find suitable candidates locally. Sponsoring work visas allows businesses to bridge this gap by importing the required expertise. Whether it’s specialised technology skills, language proficiency, or specific sector knowledge, work visa sponsorship ensures access to a broader talent pool and enables organisations to meet their skill requirements and project deadlines.

Retention and Employee Loyalty

When a company invests in sponsoring a work visa for an employee, it demonstrates a commitment to their professional growth and long-term career prospects. This investment fosters a sense of loyalty and gratitude, leading to increased employee engagement and retention rates. Furthermore, sponsored employees often become strong advocates for the organization, helping attract more international talent through word-of-mouth referrals.

Enhanced Diversity and Innovation

Sponsoring work visas fosters diversity within an organization. By bringing in individuals from different cultural backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences, companies create a rich melting pot of ideas and innovation. Diverse teams are proven to be more creative, adaptable, and capable of outperforming homogeneous groups. Sponsoring work visas offers companies the opportunity to build a truly global workforce that can drive innovation and better understand international markets.

Process for Work Visa Sponsorship

Following the introduction of a new points-based immigration system on 1 January 2021, UK-based employers usually need to have a valid sponsor licence to hire a worker from outside the UK. This includes new arrivals from the EU or citizens of countries who do not have permission to live and work in the UK.

To employ someone who does not have this permission, you will need to be approved by the Home Office. This approval is known as a ‘sponsor licence’. There are two types of sponsor licence – Worker and Temporary Worker.

  • The Worker routes are designed for long-term workers, including skilled workers up to 5 yrs
  • The Temporary Worker routes are to recruit migrants on a short-term basis within a variety of roles including, for example, charity workers, creative and sporting workers, religious workers and seasonal workers.

To be eligible for a sponsor licence, the Home Office must be satisfied that you are a genuine organisation operating lawfully in the UK. Proof includes providing certain documentation to show that your business is genuine, and that you have an operating or trading presence in the UK

To apply for a sponsor licence, you will need to register your details with UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) and complete an online application form. More details can be found on the UK Government website here: UK visa sponsorship for employers

In summary, the process includes:

  • Determine Eligibility: Companies must evaluate the candidate’s qualifications, experience, and suitability for the job role. Research the visa requirements and ensure compliance with immigration laws. Also check the Government Shortage occupations list: For example 2121 Civil engineers – all jobs is on the shortage occupations list which means that the application fee could be lower.
  • Documentation and Application: Prepare and gather the necessary documents, including job offers, contracts, and supporting evidence. File the visa application with the relevant immigration authorities, adhering to all guidelines and regulations.
  • Employer Compliance: Companies must demonstrate their ability to meet legal obligations as a sponsoring employer. This includes ensuring fair wages, providing appropriate working conditions, and complying with reporting and monitoring requirements.
  • Timely Follow-up: Stay engaged with immigration authorities, promptly responding to any requests for additional information or documentation. Keep the candidate informed about the progress of their visa application to maintain transparency and build trust.


These will vary depending on the size of the company. Application fees are £536 for a small company rising to £1,476 for a large company. A small company should meet 2 of the following criteria:

  • Turnover of £10.2M or less
  • Assets of £5.1M or less
  • Employees of 50 or less

There are also yearly fees payable:

  • Yearly Immigration Skills Charges – £364/yr for a small company/£1,000 for Large
  • NI Top up fees of £624/yr per worker
  • Certificate Fee of £199 per sponsorship

More cost information can be found here

While this may sound daunting – how much is not having the right talent costing your business in project delays or missed business? What about hiring a less than perfect candidate just because you need an extra pair of hands? According to research, making a bad hire can be costly. Someone on a salary of £42K can actually cost a business as much as £132,000 by the time you factor in hiring costs, advertising, benefits, time and resources etc!

Final Thoughts

In the current candidate short market, companies face intense competition to secure top talent. Sponsoring work visas could be an effective strategy to access diverse and qualified professionals, address skill shortages, and gain a competitive edge. By embracing global talent, businesses can foster innovation, enhance employee loyalty, and position themselves as leaders in their respective industries. While the work visa sponsorship process may require time and effort, the long-term benefits far outweigh the initial investment. Embrace the opportunity to unlock the potential of global talent and drive your organization towards success in an ever-evolving global marketplace.

Note: All information is correct at the time of writing.

Further Reading

What is the process for sponsoring a work visa through my company?

The process is actually quite straightforward. There are plenty of organisations that can help with guidance or advice, as well as actually do the work for you. Go to the gov.uk website where you can make an application and get more information.

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