UK work permits

To hire South Africa workers, UK-based employers must have a sponsorship license and then need to apply for a certificate of sponsorship for each employee. There are several steps involved for both employers and employees, which must be met if the application is to be successful.

UK work permits

UK visa work

UK work permits for South African citizens

If you want to get a work permit in the UK then you will be happy to known that UK companies can sponsor South Africans who want to work in the UK.

UK employers must first get a sponsorship licence and then be issued with a certificate of sponsorship (COS). Your South African candidate will use the COS to apply for their Tier 2 visa.

The South African candidates will need to obtain a UK Tier 2 visa to take up the job offer.

How to get a sponsorship licence

To apply for a sponsorship licence, you must:

Issuing the certificate of sponsorship

Once you’ve received your sponsorship licence, you can issue the candidate with a COS. Before you do this, you must first determine which employment category your employee falls into. There are two types of categories: unrestricted and restricted.

Unrestricted category

You will not need permission from the Home Office to issue a COS to these candidates. 

Employees who fall into this category:

Are transferring from an overseas branch of the UK sponsoring company

Restricted category

Candidates in this category are unable to switch to a Tier 2 visa from within the UK and must apply for a Tier 2 visa from their home country. The UK government has capped the number of employees allowed to enter the UK in this category at 20,700 per year.

Candidates must also pass a points-based system to qualify

Points are awarded for:

Employers will need to conduct the resident labour market test. This involves advertising the job for no less than 28 days. This test proves that there isn’t a suitable UK resident who can fill the position.

The skills charge

UK employers must pay a skills charge to hire non-UK citizens who are on Tier 2 visas. The skills charge was introduced to encourage UK businesses to hire and train UK citizens instead of relying on migrants to fill positions.

Exceptions for certain businesses

Exceptions for certain businesses

If your company employs less than 50 people and its annual turnover is £10.2 million or less, you’ll pay a reduced rate of £364 per year. 

Other exceptions include:

If your company employs less than 50 people and its annual turnover is £10.2 million or less, you’ll pay a reduced rate of £364 per year. 

Other exceptions include:

Exceptions for certain businesses

If you want to stay up to date on the latest Brexit changes that will affect South Africans, read more about the Points Based Immigration system Britain is implementing