How do I sponsor a migrant worker?
How long can workers stay in the UK?
This page explains how long a sponsored worker can spend in the UK under Tiers 2 and 5 of the points-based system.
On this page
Tier 2 workers
Migrants coming to the UK under Tier 2 will initially be given permission to stay for up to three years, depending on the length of their expected employment here.
Tier 5 workers
The maximum length of stay in the UK for a migrant in the Tier 5 (Temporary worker) category will depend on the sub-category they apply under.
Extension of permission to stay
Migrants in the UK under Tier 2 can apply to extend their permission to stay if:
- they have a certificate of sponsorship for their continued employment before they apply to extend their stay; and
- the job is still at or above the appropriate level (see the sponsor guidance), and the salary is at or above the correct rate.
Another resident labour market test will not be needed, because you will have shown on the initial application that the job could not be filled from the resident labour market.
Migrants in the Tier 5 (Temporary worker) category can only extend their stay up to the maximum time allowed under their sub-category.
They can, however, leave the UK and reapply for permission to enter on a new certificate of sponsorship when they reach the end of their stay. There is no minimum time limit that they must spend abroad before they can reapply under Tier 5 (Temporary worker).
Switching between immigration categories
'Switching' is the term we use when a migrant who is already legally in the UK changes their immigration status from one immigration category to another. The migrant must meet the initial entry requirements for the new category.
Migrants must meet certain requirements when changing their immigration status, and we will impose certain restrictions. We will only approve a migrant's application to switch if they:
- meet the specific requirements of the Immigration Rules to be given permission to stay in the UK within the category that they are switching into; and
- are already in the UK in one of the categories that allows switching into another category while in the UK.
If a migrant is in the UK but does not have permission to enter or remain for their current stay, they cannot be given permission to remain in certain categories. We will refuse these applications.
As their sponsor, you may want to make sure that the migrant's current immigration status allows them to switch into the desired immigration category. If the migrant's immigration status is not in one of the eligible categories, they will not be allowed to switch and we are likely to refuse their application for permission to remain.
If the sponsored worker is a Croatian national there is no limit to how long they can stay in the UK as they can move and reside freely in any EU member state.
This is the process an employer must follow before employing a person who is not a permanent resident of the United Kingdom if he/she is first required to show that no resident worker could be found to take a job.
This refers to either the Scottish Vocational Qualification or the National Vocational Qualification at level 3. A qualification at this level is one that shows competence that involves the application of knowledge in a broad range of varied work activities performed in a wide variety of contexts, most of which are complex and non-routine. There is considerable responsibility and autonomy and control or guidance of others is often required.
You are normally resident in the United Kingdom with no immigration restriction on the length of your stay. To be free of immigration restriction you must have the right of abode or indefinite leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom.