Sponsoring Family Members to Work in the UK: Key Considerations and Guidelines

At WestBridge Business Immigration, one of the most frequently asked questions is whether it is possible to sponsor family members to work in the UK under the Skilled Worker visa. 

The short answer is yes, it is possible. However, there are important considerations and potential risks that applicants must be aware of.

Definition of Family Member under the Skilled Worker UK Immigration Rules

For the purposes of sponsorship in the skilled worker route, the definition of a family member includes  spouses or civil partner, unmarried or a same-sex partners, parents or step-parents, children and stepchildren, siblings and stepsiblings, nephews/nieces, cousins, uncles/aunts and direct inlaws.

Sponsoring Family Members to Work in the UK

Key Considerations for Sponsoring Family Members

1. Genuine Employment Test: The Home Office employs a stringent “genuine employment test” to ensure that the position offered to the family member is legitimate. This involves assessing whether there is adequate evidence to show:

  • The vacancy is real and necessary for the business.
  • The family member possesses the relevant skills and experience to fulfil the job requirements.

2. Risk of Bias: There is an inherent risk of perceived bias when sponsoring family members. This will lead to enhanced scrutiny at both the sponsor licensing and visa application stages. To mitigate this risk, it is crucial to demonstrate that the hiring process was fair, transparent, and competitive. 

The main takeaway is that the family member should be bringing the skills and experience that the business needs to the relevant vacancy. These skills and experiences should be evidenced through references and qualifications.

3. Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS): When issuing a Certificate of Sponsorship, it must not be assigned directly by a family member. Additionally, a sponsor note should be included to explain the familial relationship to the migrant.

Potential Reasons for Refusal

The Home Office can refuse both the sponsor licence and the visa application if they find that the employment is not genuine or that the job role does not meet the required criteria. Common reasons for refusal include:

  • Insufficient evidence of the vacancy’s genuineness.
  • Lack of appropriate skills or experience on the part of the family member.
  • Any indication that the role was created solely to facilitate the family member’s migration to the UK.

Mandatory Practices for Successful Sponsorship

1. Documentation and Evidence: Ensure thorough documentation that clearly demonstrates the need for the role and the recruitment process undertaken. This includes job advertisements, interview notes, and other relevant records.

2. Ensure that the family member fits the bill: do not shoehorn a family member into a job that they are not suitable for! You should only be sponsoring a family member if the business needs their particular skills.

2. Independent Assignment of CoS: The CoS should be assigned by a senior member of the organisation who is not related to the applicant. This is mandatory and is designed to help maintain the integrity of the sponsorship process.

3. Transparency: Maintain transparency by providing a detailed sponsor note explaining the relationship and justifying the necessity and legitimacy of the role.

By adhering to these guidelines, businesses can improve their chances of successfully sponsoring a family member under the Skilled Worker visa while minimising the risk of refusal due to perceived bias or non-compliance with the Home Office’s requirements.

For more detailed information and personalised advice, contact WestBridge Business Immigration. We are here to assist you with navigating the complexities of UK immigration rules and ensuring a smooth application process.

For further reading on the topic, visit the UK Government’s official guidance.

Contact WestBridge Business Immigration:

  • Phone: 0203 086 7236
  • Email: info@wbbi.co.uk
  • Address: 1 Fetter Lane, London, EC4A 1BR

Disclaimer: This article provides general information only and does not constitute legal advice. For specific legal advice tailored to your situation, please consult and get in touch with us directly.

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