Set up in the UK with a Skilled Worker visa

Samar Shams & Natalie Knight-Wickens & Jack Khurana
31 March 2022

Please note that the information provided below should not be taken as legal advice. Please contact Samar Shams, Partner – Immigration and Global Mobility on the details at the end of this article if you have questions. The information is up to date as of the date of writing, 30 March 2022. 

How to expand to the UK amidst changing immigration requirements?

With the Immigration Rules changing again, and the closure of both the Investor and the Representative of Overseas Business visa routes, it can be difficult to identify a UK visa route that can be used to expand a business to the UK. 

Sponsorship of skilled workers offers a reliable solution. Spencer West LLP Partners specialising in Corporate, Employment and Immigration Law team up to support your business every step of the way.

Sponsorship of skilled workers

There are three main stages to the process:

  1. An overseas entity establishes a UK company;
  2. The UK company applies for a sponsor licence; and
  3. Once the sponsor licence is granted, the UK company can sponsor an owner of the overseas company as a Skilled Worker. 

This process is the most stable visa route amongst the options. It is a reliable path to settlement in the UK, relative to other UK business and work visa options. An applicant may be eligible for settlement after 5 years in the UK under the Skilled Worker visa route.

Please note that to be eligible to apply for a sponsor licence, the UK entity would need a director, employee or officer who is a ‘settled worker’ to be responsible for sponsorship activities in the UK. Settled workers include British or Irish citizens, those with indefinite leave to remain in the UK and those with pre-settled or settled status under the EU settlement scheme. 

A corporate bank account with an FCA-approved bank would also be required.

Setting up the UK corporate entity

Corporate and Commercial Law Partner Natalie Knight Wickens is pleased to assist with setting up the UK entity to support the company’s expansion to the UK and the owner’s sponsorship as a Skilled Worker, including:

  • Incorporating a UK company;
  • Providing bespoke Articles of Association, which is recommended where the UK entity will be a wholly owned subsidiary; and
  • Preparing the first board minutes, statutory register, and share certificate for the company that most banks will request in order to open the corporate account required to support a sponsor licence application.
Sponsor licence

Immigration and Global Mobility Partner Samar Shams is pleased to assist with the application form and document submission stages of the sponsor licence application process. We also advise on the HR systems required to support sponsor duties. 

Employment and HR systems documents

Employment Law Partner Jack Khurana can draft the core contracts and HR policy documents that will need to be in place to facilitate employment.

Sponsoring a Skilled Worker

Once the above steps have been taken, the UK entity will be ready to sponsor non-UK nationals to work in the UK. Our immigration team are experts in sponsorship matters. We will assist with all stages, including:

  • Assigning the Certificate of Sponsorship;
  • Completing the visa application form;
  • Submitting supporting documents; and
  • Verifying the applicant’s identity whether through an app or a biometrics appointment. 

We are also pleased to assist with family members’ applications.

Your dedicated UK expansion team

If you have any questions, or would like to proceed with an application on the basis of the above terms, please contact us below:


Natalie Knight-Wickens
Partner - Corporate & Commercial
Natalie Knight-Wickens is a Partner Solicitor at Spencer West. She specialises in capital markets, commercial contracts, corporate, EdTech, FemTech, green beauty, HealthTech, mergers & acquisitions, sustainable business, sustainable fashion, venture capital.
Jack Khurana
Partner – Commercial Dispute Resolution and Employment Law
Jack Khurana is a Partner Solicitor at Spencer West. He specialises in commercial disputes relating to a variety of contractual and negligence claims, Employment advice to and representation for employers on all aspects of employment law and HR.