Sponsored Work in the UK

There is no magic formula to finding a sponsored job in the UK, in our experience the consultants who have been successful at moving to UK for Tier 2 sponsorship have done plenty of research from their home countries, applying for roles, talking with recruiters and getting a job offer in place. It helps to have skills that are in high demand in the UK, especially if there is an undersupply of local candidates.

But the sticking point for many people trying to get a Tier 2 work visa is to find a company who can sponsor their work permit. This means a company that

  1. is a registered sponsor. This means they hold a valid license, from the UKBA, to issue Certificates of Sponsorship.
  2. has a suitable job vacancy and is unable to find a suitable local candidate

Lets go through these points one by one.

Is the company licensed to sponsor work in the UK?

The UKBA publish a list of all the registered Tier 2 sponsors. This isn't exclusive - any UK company that meets the criteria can apply for a license. But given the time and paperwork required to get a license, it is alot easier dealing with companies who are already approved for sponsorship.

What vacancies are unable to be filled by local candidates?

But regardless of these points, the reality is that if you are working in an area where there are already lots of experienced people in the UK looking for jobs, you will have a hard time finding a uk company to offer you work. For many people this is commonsense. After all

  • UK companies generally value experience gained within the UK workplace
  • It is easier for UK companies to hire local workers
  • The work permit system is designed to prioritise local workers over foreign candidates
  • Tier 2 visa holders must be paid market rate or higher for their role 

The UKBA has rules to prevent unscrupulous companies bringing in cheap foreign labour to undercut local workers. A sponsoring company normally has to show that they have tried to fill a position locally but not found a suitable candidate (the Resident Labour Market Test or RLMT). The RLMT must be completed *before* a company can sponsor someone on a Tier 2 visa. There is also a salary range which shows minimum earnings levels for all the professions which are approved for sponsorship. Companies are unable to sponsor anyone earning less than the allocated minimum salary for that role.

What does this mean for foreign job seekers?

It is much easier to get a UK job offer if your particular skillset is undersupplied in the UK market. 

This might be because there are simply more jobs than available candidates. Or your skills are really rare. Or you are very highly skilled in a particular area like a brand new technology or applying a solution to a particular industry or problem space. 

It might be a regional effect - for example there might be an undersupply of specialists in Scotland. It might be seasonal or due to an industry shift - for example around the time of the millenium bug there was overwhelming demand in the UK for almost any variant of IT skills. 

Unfortunately there is no magic solution to the problem. The best thing is to do lots of research on the jobs that are available and keep an eye on any trends that emerge. This helps pinpoint where & when there might be the greatest opportunity. Recruiters are a terrific source of this information, especially if they are a specialist recruiter for your area. 

How to make your skills more appealing to UK sponsors

You have done the research and identified where the demand is, now its time to put this knowledge to work.

Perhaps you need to do some training or get project experience to build up your skills?

Or if you already have the expeirence, update your CV to highlight it. It is worth having a separate edit of your CV which just showcases this area.

Is it a regional scarcity? Setup job alerts to track any vacancies in the area, including related skills. Then approach all the recruiters and companies you can find to advise them you are available and interested to work in their region.

More questions? Click here for our answers to the 25 most common questions about UK Tier 2 Work Permits

Remember if you are an experienced contractor with skills that are in-demand in the UK one of our UK partners could be able to sponosr you on a Tier 2 Work Permit. These consulting companies will enable you to do project work whilst you are in the UK.

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