As of April 2024, the minimum salary threshold for the UK Skilled Worker visa has increased from £26,200 to £38,700 per year. We clear up some of the confusion this change has caused for those considering “self-sponsorship” through their own business.

Switching visas

What is “self-sponsorship”?

“Self-sponsorship” allows entrepreneurs and business owners to establish a business in the UK and obtain a Skilled Worker visa to work for their own company. This route enables your business to act as your sponsor for immigration purposes. However, it still requires a director or paid employee residing in the UK, who is not the proposed Skilled Worker, to act as the Authorising Officer. This requirement is why the term “self-sponsorship” is used cautiously.

Can you still “self-sponsor”?

The good news is that you can still be sponsored for a Skilled Worker visa through a UK business that you own. Despite the increase in the salary threshold, the basic rules have not changed. However, there are a few key points to consider under the new salary threshold:

  • Meeting the salary requirement: You will need to demonstrate that you will be paid a minimum salary of £38,700 per year. In some cases, this amount may be higher depending on the role. This new threshold applies to new applicants only. If you were already in the UK under the Skilled Worker visa before 4 April 2024, a reduced minimum salary threshold of £29,000 applies.
  • UK resident director or paid employee: You must have at least one director or paid employee who is a resident in the UK. This individual is typically someone who is either British or has settled status, although it can also be someone in the UK on a visa.
  • Genuineness requirement: You need to prove to the Home Office that the role in your company is a genuine vacancy. This involves demonstrating a clear business need for the position and ensuring that you have the necessary skills and qualifications to fill it. The role should not be created solely to obtain a visa in the UK.

While “self-sponsorship” remains an option, you must ensure that your business can support the increased salary requirement and that the role in the UK is legitimate. Although the higher salary threshold makes it more costly to sponsor migrant workers, the Skilled Worker route is still a viable option for business owners who wish to grow and expand their operations in the UK.

Contribution by Tobias Strom

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