Sponsoring a Skilled Worker

The Skilled Worker and category opened on 1 December 2020.

EU citizens who have not applied to the EU Settlement Scheme will need to apply for permission to work in the UK, as will non-EU citizens.

Previously known as Tier 2, the Skilled Worker category operates in a broadly similar way. Some aspects of the Skilled Worker category are more generous as for example there is not any resident labour market (advertisement) process and the required skill level of the role has been reduced.

There is also provision for intra-company transfer (ICT) applications for staff employed outside the UK in the same corporate group. From 11 April 2022 the ICT categories have moved to the Global Business Mobility – Senior or Specialist Worker and Global Business Mobility – Graduate Trainee routes but operate in much the same way. Any sponsor with an existing ICT licence will have had it automatically changed to a Global Business Mobility – Senior or Specialist Worker licence.

Our FAQs on Skilled Worker visas and sponsor licenses contain more information on the Skilled Worker category and how it works.

Employers extending the stay of or recruiting Tier 2 sponsored workers need to transition those individuals into the Skilled Worker category and we are able to assist with such applications. Employers may also wish to switch Global Business Mobility/intra-company transfer and Youth Mobility Scheme workers to the Skilled Worker category in order that they are then on a track to settlement (indefinite leave to remain).

In order to recruit and retain Skilled Workers in the UK, if an employer does not already have a sponsor licence it should apply for one.  For employers with a sponsor licence it is more important than ever to maintain full compliance given that EU and non-EU citizens will need to be sponsored.   

We advise clients in all sectors including tech; media, technology and sport; financial services; and the legal sector.


Whether you are seeking to sponsor an EU or non-EU citizen under the Skilled Worker or ICT (Global Business Mobility) categories, we are here to provide you with the support you require and to guide you through every necessary stage.

Our highly experienced team has advised and assisted on the Points Based System since its first inception in 2008. We continue to draw on our in-depth expertise in advising on the sponsorship and hiring of overseas nationals under the current system.

We will assist you with the Skilled Worker or ICT (Global Business Mobility) certificate of sponsorship and visa application by preparing and submitting the application to bring the overseas national to the UK to begin their employment with your company. We will then help you with reporting to the Home Office on any changes and retaining the required information and documents on file for compliance purposes.

Recognised as one of the leading immigration teams in the UK with over 20 years in the top tier of both Chambers UK and Legal 500, we are well placed to provide you with the end-to-end support you need to ensure the application process is completed with minimum worry for you and your HR team.

Sometimes a solution to your recruitment needs may not be obvious and this is where we can help and guide you through the options available. We understand that as an employer, you are looking for the very best for your company, and sometimes the person you need with the specific skills and experience for your business may currently reside outside the UK.


Recent examples of work

  • Assisting a multinational company with high volume Skilled Worker and ICT applications.
  • Assisting with switching Tier 2 (ICT) and Youth Mobility Scheme workers to the Skilled Worker category from within the UK.
  • Advising on meeting the tradable points criteria for Skilled Worker applications.
  • Advising in relation to meeting the minimum salary requirements for new entrants.
  • Advising in relation to Skilled Workers who have a change to their sponsored role or salary.
  • Assisting with Skilled Worker change of employment applications.
  • Advising on how Skilled Workers can apply for indefinite leave to remain and British citizenship in the future.
  • Providing training on the Skilled Worker category and the differences from Tier 2 that sponsors need to be aware of.

Our sector-focused pages have more examples of how we can assist your business.


For more information about our immigration services please contact Nicolas Rollason at nrollason@kingsleynapley.co.uk or a member of the team.

Always prompt and factual’" Kingsley Napley LLP provides "an excellent level of service"

Legal 500 UK

"Kingsley Napley leads the immigration outfits in the UK"

Who's Who Corporate Immigration

​"Interviewees agree that Kingsley Napley is home to a superb team of immigration lawyers"

Chambers UK, A Client's Guide to the UK Legal Profession

Sponsoring a Skilled worker– our related services

Registering as a Sponsor FAQs

To sponsor migrants under Tier 2 of the points based system, employers must be registered with the Home Office and hold a sponsor licence.

Staying Compliant under the Points Based System

We help employers of foreign migrants put systems and processes in place to stay compliant under the points based system.

Prevention of Illegal Working

We advise on setting up fully compliant systems, policies and processes to prevent illegal working, and we can carry out compliance audits.

Dealing with a Home Office Compliance Visit

Specialist advice for businesses dealing with a Home Office investigation into your workforce including advice for HR teams.

Mergers and Acquisitions and Your Tier 2 Sponsor Licence

Advice on changes in ownership, mergers and corporate reorganisations, which can have immigration implications for Tier 2 sponsors.

Sponsor licence applications and the post-Brexit immigration system

EU citizens arriving in the UK from 1 January 2021 will be subject to new UK immigration rules. We can assist with all aspects of their immigration journey.

Applying for a sponsor licence

From 1 December 2020, UK employers need to use a sponsor licence to recruit both EU and non-EU citizens.

Compliance and audit

We assist our clients in applying for a sponsor licence, and provide a mock audit service and regular ‘health checks’ to ensure they remain compliant.

Temporary work

Before 1 December 2020 these categories fell within Tier 5. We can assist with all types of Temporary Worker applications.

Visiting the UK for business

Visitors in the UK are not allowed to work and it can be confusing when trying to decipher what is and is not classified as work.

Obtaining British Citizenship and Staying Permanently

Whether you are looking to naturalise, or register as a British citizen, we can provide you with detailed advice and guidance.

Sponsoring and Hiring Foreign Nationals Insights

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