Skilled worker and other licence categories

The most common type of sponsor licence for organizations is the Skilled Worker one, however, there are several other sponsor licence categories. Depending on your organization type and the type of workers you wish to employ or job positions you wish to fill, you may need to consider other types o sponsor licences. We list the various sponsor licence categories further below.

Education providers wishing to sponsor international students

There is a special sponsor licence category for education providers wishing to sponsor international students to come to the UK under the Student or Child Student routes. There is a separate Home office guidance published for this type of sponsor licence Student_Sponsor_Guidance_-_Doc_1_-_Applying_for_a_licence_2020.pdf (

type of sponsor licence UK

Licence categories to employ foreign workers

For businesses and organisations that wish to employ foreign workers, the type of licence depends on whether the workers you wish to employ are for skilled roles that are normally long-term (‘Worker licence’ – Skilled Worker, Intra Company Transfer, Minister of Religion, Sportsperson) OR are required for specific types of temporary employment (‘Temporary worker licence’ – Charity Worker, Creative Worker, Government Authorised Exchange, International Agreement, Religious Worker, Seasonal Worker).

Worker sponsor licence

A ‘Worker’ licence will let you sponsor people in different types of skilled employment. The skilled work can be for a short time, long-term or permanent depending on the worker’s visa. The licence is split into:

Skilled Worker

Skilled Worker licence allows UK businesses to recruit people to work in jobs that are Skilled to at least RQF Level 3 and are paid at least the prescribed minimum salary.

This is by far the most commonly used sponsor licence type for businesses wanting to hire foreign workers in the UK.

Intra-Company routes

Intra Company Transfer (ICT) licence allows multinational businesses to transfer staff from their overseas offices to the UK company. To qualify for ICT licence, your business must have at least two companies (one based in the UK and one based overseas), and both/all those companies must be under common ownership or control (i.e. be within the same Group). ICT licence can be used for transferring to the UK the workers who are already employed at the overseas company within the same Group. There are two Intra Company Transfer (ICT) routes:

  1. Intra-Company Transfer: this route allows transfer from overseas company to a UK liked company, of established workers (normally must already spent 12 months working for the overseas business), to work in RQF Level 6 skilled roles (i.e. graduate level roles) that are paid at least the prescribed minimum salary.
  2. Intra-Company Graduate Trainee: this is for workers who are being transferred by the overseas business they work for to undertake a RQF Level 6 role (i.e. graduate level) in the UK with a linked business as part of a structured graduate training programme

Minister of Religion

This licence category is for a person who has a key leading role within their faith-based organisation or a religious order in the UK.

International Sportsperson

This licence category is for an elite sportsperson or a qualified coach who are sponsored in a role where they will make a significant contribution to the development of sport at the highest level in the UK.

Temporary Worker sponsor licence

A ‘Temporary Worker’ licence will let you sponsor people on a temporary basis, including for volunteering and job-shadowing. You can only get a Temporary Worker licence for specific types of employment and visas. There are 6 Temporary Worker routes on which you can sponsor workers:

Charity Worker

This licence is for charitable organizations who wish to employ workers to do voluntary work with them for no more than 12 months.

Creative Worker

This licence is for those organizations who wish to employ workers within the creative sector (for example, as an artist, dancer, musician or entertainer, or as a model in the fashion industry) in the UK for up to 12 months (with the possibility to extend for up to a maximum of 24 months if working for the same sponsor).

Government Authorised Exchange

This licence is for those organizations that wish to employ those who come to the UK on any of the schemes approved by the Home Office for a period of no more than 12 or 24 months (depending on the scheme).

International Agreement

This licence is for organizations that wish to employ those who come to the UK to provide a service covered under international law, such as private servants in diplomatic households, employees of overseas governments and international organisations, or under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) or another agreement under which the UK has commitments – workers sponsored on this route can stay in the UK for a maximum period of between 6 months and 2 years, depending on the agreement

Religious Worker

This licence is for religious organizations that wish to employ a person to support activities of the religious institution by conducting religious work, such as working in a religious order or undertaking non-pastoral work for a religious organisation, for a maximum of 2 years. The work must not include employment as a minister of religion.

Seasonal Worker

This category is for workers in edible horticulture doing seasonal work in the UK with a sponsor (who must be an approved scheme operator) for up to 6 months in any 12-month period – this route can also be used to sponsor:

  • poultry production workers between 11 October 2021 and 31 December 2021
  • workers undertaking haulage driving involving transportation of food goods between 11 October 2021 and 28 February 202

You can also use the Seasonal Worker visa to sponsor:

  • pork butchery workers for up to 6 months
  • poultry production workers – until 31 December 2021
  • HGV drivers involved in food transport – until 28 February 2022