What are the challenges when employing a family member on skilled worker visa
Some UK business owners may have family members whom they would like to employ on skilled worker visa at their UK business. The good news is that this is not expressly disallowed in the UK immigration rules. There are, however, some additional hurdles that you will have to overcome to be successful in such applications. You will encounter them at each stage in the immigration process: sponsor licence application, Certificate of Sponsorship (Cos) and skilled worker visa. In our article further below we address the main points you should focus on in such scenario.
What you should pay special attention when a COS is for a family member
There are three main requirements that you should pay special attention when Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) is for a family member. We list them below and provide more details on each one in further paragraphs.
- Genuine vacancy requirement must be met.
- Key personnel Level 1 User cannot assign a Certificate of Sponsorship to themselves or to a close family member.
- Sponsor note needs to be added to the COS to inform Home Office that it is assigned to a close family member.
Genuine vacancy test for skilled worker when employing a family member
The genuine vacancy test is important to any skilled worker sponsor licence, Certificate of Sponsorship and skilled worker visa application. However, it should be the point of focus even more so if employing a family member. Home Office is likely to be more suspicious as to whether the job vacancy is genuine when a family member is to be employed. It is a common sense approach to put such applications under more scrutiny.
Level 1 user potential issues when employing family member on skilled worker visa
Level 1 sponsorship management system (SMS) user must not assign their own Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) or assigns a CoS to a close relative or partner. If you do not comply with this rule, your sponsor licence can be revoked. The consequences of licence revocation are severe, as when you lose the licence you will not be able to continue employing anyone on work permit at your organisation.
By ‘close relative or partner’, Home Office means:
• a spouse or civil partner.
• an unmarried partner
• a parent or step-parent
• a son or step-son
• a daughter or step-daughter
• a brother, step-brother or half-brother
• a sister, step-sister or half-sister
• a nephew, niece, cousin
• an aunt or uncle
• a father-in-law, mother-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, son-inlaw or daughter-in-law.
The only exception to this is where you are licensed on the UK Expansion Worker route and have a Provisional rating, in which case the Authorising Officer (who must also be the Level 1 User) can assign their own CoS.
Add a sponsor note to inform Home Office that COS is for a family member
Adding a sponsor note to CoS is required when CoS is for a family member. You must comply with Home Office immigration laws and all parts of the Worker and Temporary Worker sponsor guidance. To do this, you must: disclose (by adding a sponsor note) if you assign a CoS to a family member of anyone within the sponsor organisation if it is classed as a small or medium-sized business, or if you are aware you are assigning a CoS to a family member of anyone else within a sponsor organisation classed as a large business.
If sponsor does not comply with the requirement to add a sponsor note, their sponsor licence can be revoked.