Things to Know Before You Hire an Overseas Employee

Things to Know Before You Hire an Overseas Employee

Things to Know Before You Hire an Overseas Employee

Things to Know Before You Hire an Overseas Employee

As a company you want to hire the best talent, irrespective of nationality. But before you start going through those immigrant applications, you need to be aware of the policies around hiring migrant workers.

In the UK, the Home Office has a set of well-defined laws governing migrant workers. And there is a lot of ground to be covered before you can hire someone from outside UK.

Here’s a list of the top five things to know, before you can employ an overseas worker at your organization:

Sponsorship License

If you are looking to employ overseas workers via a Tier 2 work permit, you need to have a Sponsorship License issued by the Home Office. The license allows you to issue Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to the foreign nationals you choose to hire.

In order to be eligible for the license, your business needs to be a genuine organization operating legally in the UK. You also need to ensure that your organization or any key personnel have never been in violation of UK immigration laws in any manner.

Once you meet these basic criteria, you can easily apply for and receive your sponsorship license.


Personnel Requirements


A key criteria for receiving the sponsorship license is to ensure that your organization has the resources to comply with sponsorship duties. More specifically, you need to have three key roles within your organization:

● Authorising Officer: A permanent, preferably senior member of the organization, who is the final authority on hiring migrant employees.

● Key Contact: A permanent staff member or a chosen legal representative, who is responsible for all communications and coordination between the Home Office and your organization.

● Level 1 Officer: A permanent staff member or legal representative, who is charged with record-keeping duties and using the Sponsorship Management System to intimate the Home Office of any changes or key information about migrant employees.

You can appoint one or more individuals to fulfill these three roles, but you have to ensure that these roles are created and staffed.


Verifying Applicant’s Right to Work

For each migrant employee you seek to hire, you have to verify that they have the right to legally work in the UK. This involves:

●     Requesting the right documents

○    Asking potential employees to produce any one from a list of eligible documents, which prove that they are entitled to take up employment opportunities in the UK. There are separate lists of documents that should be verified to check permanent right to work and temporary right to work in the UK. All these documents must be requested in the original version, and not digital copies or photocopied versions.

●     Verify

○    Once in physical possession of the original documents, you have to verify that these documents are indeed valid, in the presence of the applicant/document holder. This activity can be done by the authorising officer, or delegated to a member of the staff, but should not be outsourced to a third-party.

○    At this stage, you should be able to reasonably ascertain the truth or falsity of the documents. This means that to the untrained eye, and without the use of any specific technology, the documents appear to be valid. There should be no obvious red flags like wrong information, or photo mismatch, to suggest that documents are false.

●     Record

○    Post verification, you should retain a hardcopy or unalterable digital copy of each document, in your employee records. You should also make sure to add the date of verification to the documents. You have retain these records for the duration of employment, and for an additional two years after they have stopped working for you. And you should be able to produce them for verification as and when requested by the Home Office.

Complying with these document verification process is crucial. Otherwise, you might end up hiring foreign nationals “illegally”, and be liable for a civil penalty of £20,000 for each illegal worker.


Skills Charge

Once you assign a CoS to migrant employee that you are hiring for six months or more, you need to pay a skills charge to the government. This charge depends on the size of your organization and the duration of employment.

The following are the current charges per migrant employee:


Small or charitable sponsors

Medium or large sponsors

6 months



12 months



In case the duration of employment is between 6 months to a year, you are liable to pay the fee for a 12-month period. You must pay the charge in full, and in one go.

Sponsorship Duties


The UK Home Office demands that the employer take complete responsibility for the migrant employee’s stay in the UK. This translates to a set of sponsorship duties that your organization has to fulfill[1] . Besides hiring legal workers, you are responsible for record-keeping and reporting duties pertaining to migrant employees. And non-compliance with these duties can have serious repercussions for your business.

As you can see, hiring migrant employees comes with a lot of requirements and responsibilities. While acquiring the sponsorship license, document verification, and skill charges payment might be periodic activities, making sure you adhere to sponsorship duties requires a more involved approach. And ComplyGate’s immigration compliance solution can help you do that without investing significant time or resources.

ComplyGate offers a set of tools that help you stay up-to-date on all your documentation requirements. It also helps ensure all back-office processes related to immigration are streamlined and efficient.

Book a demo, and explore how ComplyGate can help you stay on top of your sponsorship compliance requirements.

*Complygate is a compliance management software, it only provides information and not advice. This website does not constitute legal advice and should not be used as a substitute for the advice of competent counsel.

link to blog: "What Happens When You Don’t Comply with Sponsorship Duties?"

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