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The 3 Filters to Finding a Tier 2 Sponsor

Tier 2 Sponsor

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What’s up guys Mike from Job Ready English, here with another in-depth post about finding a Skilled Worker Visa or Tier 2 Sponsorship.

Want to watch this as a video instead?

Today I want to take you through the 3 filters to finding a Tier 2 sponsor and help answer this common question.

Why won’t this company sponsor my UK Work Visa/ Tier 2?

The 3 Filters to Finding a Tier 2 Sponsor Job Ready English

All the links we will cover will at the bottom of this post. A disclaimer, I am not nor do I claim to be an immigration lawyer, this information is for educational purposes only and built on my experience of working with clients for the past 8 years.

Finding a company that will sponsor your work Visa can be very frustrating, particularly if no one has explained to you the different levels of sponsorship.

In this post, I am going to break down the 3 levels of filters

  • Sponsor List
  • Certificates of Sponsorship
  • Minimum Salary

To find a UK work sponsor and how you can do that.


People are applying to companies who don’t even sponsor, or worse, going through the application process and then being told that the company can’t sponsor their work Visa.

What is a sponsor?

A Tier 2 or Skilled Worker Visa sponsor is a company who has successfully applied and been given a sponsorship license from the UK Home Office.

If you want to find out about the requirements a company needs to become a sponsor I’ve put the link in the description.

More information here.

They can sponsor either “Skilled Workers” previously known as a Tier 2 Visa or “Temporary Workers”.

What do most international students and professionals do?

The problem you all have, is that when you look for a Tier 2 or Skilled Worker Visa Sponsors you find this list.


Previously you could download a PDF, but now you can either view 1,000 results a page online or download a CSV which today, the 11th of August 2021 had 46,928 results.

Holy Crap.

We can sort through that, by cutting out all the routes that don’t apply.

1st by type


  • We get rid of Temporary Worker


Leaves us 42,486


Then by Route.


  • 2nd Intra Company Routes (which is a transfer within the company from one country to another) T2 Sportsperson and T2 Minister of Religion (these are specialised routes for these two types of profession)

Leave us with 32,358

Which from experience I know is roughly the amount of sponsors we are looking for.

So now we have a list we can work with, let’s talk about the 3 levels of sponsorship.

Level 1: Are they on the list?

There are 4 million companies in the UK according to Companies House which houses the records for all Limited companies.

Over 500,000 new companies are registered each year.

The UK is full of SME’s (small and medium sized enterprises), over a million in fact and many will employ less than 10 people.

The first level of figuring out if a company can give you a work Visa is seeing if they are on this list of sponsors.

Luckily you don’t need to use this giant CSV which updates every day, you can just use to easily search for companies.

We released this free web application in 2020 to better help international students and professionals.

If the company is not on the list, they don’t sponsor unless they trade under a different name.

You can always check the footer of the company’s website under the Terms of Use policy to find the actual company name.

For example, we are called Job Ready English, but we actually trade as One Warrior Ltd.

So, look for your company on the list.

Not there, no good.

Found it, good, onto the 2nd level.

Level 2: Are they actively sponsoring right now?

Being a sponsor, can be like being a member of a gym.

You might have the membership but not ever actually go to the gym.

The 3 Filters to Finding a Tier 2 Sponsor Job Ready English

The same applies to companies.

Level 2 is where it starts getting tricky.

Many people have the experience of finding a company on the sponsor list and then being told that do not sponsor.

Why is that?

To answer that we need to know a little bit about a company that sponsors.

Every year in April they will need to request and pay for a CoS allocation.

A CoS is a Certificate of Sponsorship.

In simple terms, it’s an individual number each worker needs to apply for their Visa.

Currently, in 2021 Each certificate costs £199 for a Worker and £21 for a temporary worker.

So, level 2 is about whether they have enough Certificates of Sponsorship, to give to you if you are successful when you apply for a job.

Some companies may not apply for any that year but stay on the list.

Other companies may have the CoS but be saving them for other positions in the organisation.

Because you can give a CoS to any level of employee from a CEO to a graduate.

What does this mean for you?

  • It’s difficult to tell who is actively sponsoring and who isn’t, which is why I have always targeted Times Top 100 companies and larger firms. Small and medium sized businesses can sponsor and some do. But I tend to find a lot of them won’t.
  • Always make sure that you read the job description in full. Many companies will put in small print at the end of the advert that you must have the right to work in the UK. Some companies leave this out, but then ask it as a question in their application form.

Is finding a Tier 2 skilled worker visa sponsor driving you crazy?

Level 3: Is the job eligible for sponsorship?

This one is easy then it gets tricky.

The minimum salary for a Skilled Worker Visa is £25,600.

But if you’re under 26, studying or a recent graduate, or in professional training, this goes down to £20,480 a year.

The 3 Filters to Finding a Tier 2 Sponsor Job Ready English

So, if the offered salary is less than this for ANY job, it’s no good.

Throw it out.

That’s the easy bit.

Now the trickier stuff.

Every job an international student or professional can apply for has a SOC code.

Meaning Standard Occupational Classifier.

This is simply a corresponding number to the job.

There are 225 codes which you can see here.

For example, a Solicitor is code 2413 and needs to be paid a salary of £34,300 to be sponsored to do that job.

What does that mean?

If you see a job that is advertised for £25,000, you’re unlikely to get sponsored.

It’s tricky because it’s not always clear what code applies to what job.

Plus, most of the time the employer will take care of the code when you successfully get the job or change the job description to meet the requirements of that code.

Though you don’t need to know all the codes, it’s worth looking at the list to know what kind of salary jobs you need to be applying for.

  • An Accountant is £30,000
  • A Business Analyst £30,900
  • An Architect £35,000

Want a list of companies that we know are sponsoring right now?

WATCH NEXT - How to EASILY find Tier 2 Visa UK Sponsors?

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