What is Self-Sponsorship?
Self-Sponsorship refers to an application to come and work in the UK for your own business without the need of having a UK Sponsor. This can lead to permanent residency and British citizenship for yourself and your family.
Who is this for?
If you are a successful businessperson, and you have identified a business opportunity in the UK, OR you have a great business idea and want to explore your business opportunity in the UK,
- You want to own the UK business
- You want to lead, manage and maintain your UK business
- You want to live without fear of losing your UK visa (i.e. sense of freedom)
Then this route could suit you.
Who would qualify?
Self-Sponsorship is open to anyone who satisfies all of the following:
- Has experience OR skills OR qualification(s) within the area of the business they want to establish
- Has a business idea or has identified a pre-existing UK business to takeover
- Has adequate resources to support their proposed business in the UK
- Please note, there is no minimum or maximum investment required for your business venture. It depends on your business need and may range from £25,000 or more.
- Ideally, has a person who is settled in the UK or a British citizen to take on the responsibilities of the Authorising Officer, and
- Has the ability to sit and pass an approved English language test at Level B1*
- *Please note, this is a basic level of the English language requirement.
What business would qualify for Self-Sponsorship?
Any business can qualify for the self-sponsorship route
The Self Sponsorship method may be the best approach to work and live in The UK if you want to start a business there or extend your present foreign operation to The UK. It is crucial to remember that there isn’t a real “Self Sponsorship Visa,” it is only a way to enter The UK under the Skilled Worker Visa category.
The Self Sponsorship Visa will enable you to establish a UK company that will sponsor your entry and employment in The UK (with the assistance of a UK resident Director). You can own shares in the business and there is no minimum investment requirement, unlike the Innovator Visa.
One of the most significant benefits of self-sponsorship is that it enables business owners to run and manage their companies in The United Kingdom without worrying about their visas being revoked.
This visa option is best for seasoned businesspeople or someone who has researched The UK market and seen a chance to launch a new company here. In order for the Company to sponsor you, you must first get a Sponsor Licence.
A total of 1,311,731 UK visas were granted in 2021, and the skilled worker visa route that was established in late 2020 accounted for 148,240 or 62% of all work-related visas issued and 98% of all skilled labour grants in 2021.
Meanwhile, there are currently 33 UK organisations that offer endorsements, of which only a small number of the Innovator endorsing bodies currently accept open applications. Many of them have very limited information about their process that is publicly accessible, and many of them only accept applications from individuals who are already a part of their organisation.
As a result, the category is effectively closed to the vast majority of potential applicants. Some certifying organisations have admitted that they are either not prepared, do not have the necessary documents, or are not yet ready to begin accepting applications for endorsement. Before this path was established, the Home Office provided the majority of endorsing bodies with minimal instruction regarding their responsibilities. The visa path provides the impression of a lack of planning and preparation on the part of the traveller.
Eligibility criteria for the Self-sponsorship route
Anyone who satisfies the qualifications below are eligible for self-sponsorship:
- The applicant should possess some knowledge, skill, or qualification in the industry where they want to launch their firm.
- The candidate must have a business concept or have found an existing company in The UK that they want to grow.
- The applicant must possess the financial resources to run their desired company in The UK
- Please note that there is no minimum or maximum investment amount that must be made in your business endeavour. Depending on your company’s demands, it might go as high as £25,000.
- The applicant is familiar with a British national who is a resident of The UK and can fulfil the duties of the Authorising Officer.
- The applicant must take and pass the Level B1 certified English language test.
- Basic knowledge of the English language is required.
Pros & cons of Self Sponsorship route when compared to Innovator or Start-up visas.
Here’s a tabled guide:
|Self Sponsorship Visa||Innovator Visa||Start-up Visa|
|You can be the director and 100% shareholder of your company.||Although these routes do not have a shareholding requirement, applicants should be aware that certain endorsing bodies for the Start-Up and Innovator visas need a portion of stock in the firm before giving an endorsement.||Although these routes do not have a shareholding requirement, applicants should be aware that certain endorsing bodies for the Start-Up and Innovator visas need a portion of stock in the firm before giving an endorsement.|
|Any business can qualify for the self-sponsorship route||This business is for experienced businesspersons||This business is for new entrepreneurs|
|No Endorsement letter required||Endorsement letter is required||Endorsement letter is required|
|No such requirements||Your business idea has to be something unique that is not already existing in the market||Your business idea has to be something unique that is not already existing in the market|
|Valid for 4 years as per the conditions of The UK Skilled Worker visa||Valid for 3 years||Valid for 2 years|
|You can apply if you are a successful businessperson, and you have identified a business opportunity in The UK.||You cannot join a business that is already trading||You cannot join a business that is already trading|
|No possibility of visa termination as you’ll be your own sponsor.||If your endorsement is revoked, your visa might terminate.||If your endorsement is revoked, your visa might terminate.|
Stage 1 – Establish a UK company, and apply for a Sponsor Licence
With the help of a registered UK accountant, your UK company can be registered.
Note: If you are a NON-UK resident, you will be required to appoint a UK based Director initially.
Timeline: Approximately 6 to 8 weeks.
Your UK company will be required to provide a minimum of 4 of the below documents:
- Most recent UK bank statement, showing funds in account (the amount required will depend on the type of business you are planning to run)
- Employer’s Liability Insurance
- VAT certificate
- PAYE and Accounts Reference Number
It is advisable for the UK company to have the following:
- A functional website (if applicable)
- A company email address
- A business plan, if the business is in the early stages
- An organisation chart – showing the current staff and vacancies.
- A letter confirming various details about your company such as business details, operating hours, the vacancies you have, and the salary you will pay yourself.
Stage 2 – Create and provide your UK company with a Human Resources pack
As part of the process of applying for a sponsor licence, you must ensure that your company has the necessary policy and procedures in place to sponsor you as a skilled worker.
Timeline: Approximately two days.
Stage 3 – Be assigned a Certificate of Sponsorship and we assist you with the Skilled Worker Visa
Upon the approval of your UK company Sponsor licence, you will require a Defined Certificate of Sponsorship.
Timeline: Approximately 4 to 12 weeks.
There is no minimum or maximum investment; it can range from £25000 or more.
Can I be a 100% shareholder in the UK business and Director?
Yes, you can have 100% of shares and you could be the Director.
When do I need to demonstrate the funds?
Before the Sponsor Licence is submitted to the Home Office.
What will be my position in the UK company?
You may be one of the majority shareholders in the UK business, and the job title may range from Managing Director, Director of Operations and any other relevant role you may take to run your business.
Between £464 to £1408. Additional fees are applicable, including the Immigration Health Surcharge, which is currently £624 per year for adults and £470 per year for child dependants.
There may be an option to take on supplementary employment in line with your job classification.
- Introduce you to strategic partners to help you achieve your objective such as, but not limited to, an accountant, a web designer, and a sales/marketing consultant.
- Company business plan preparation
- Guidance on opening a business bank account
- Prepare and advise on your company sponsor licence application
- Prepare and train your Authorising Officer
- Prepare and submit your Skilled Worker Application
- Provide you with complete hand holding support for your UK immigration process.
What if the business does not perform well during the 5-year period, what happens to your visa status/sponsor licence?
The Sponsor Licence is valid for 4 years, at the end of the 4 years a renewal application will need to be made to the Home Office. As long as you have an active/trading business you can retain the sponsor licence. If business was to stop trading, then you will be required to switch your immigration category.
Yes, you can bring your partner/spouse and children to the UK.
Between 3 years to 5 years.
Yes, your company will need to pay you a monthly salary in line with the correct job classification.
The company will be required to replace the Authorising Officer (AO).
A Y & J Solicitors’ Review
A Y & J Solicitors basically helped me through coming into the UK by using the self-employment sponsorship rule, which made me into having a company of having 100% shareholders in the company to run it on my own.
I never thought I could find a visa route. I have been told by every solicitor under the sun that there just wasn’t an avenue for somebody who is self-employed, such as myself. I own a small business, so I gave up on it for several years, and then I was connected to Yash and his crew, and here I am.