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Obtaining UK Skilled Worker Visa after Your Employer Changes Their Sponsorship Licence

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Back in China, I spent years polishing my culinary skills before thinking of relocating abroad. My goal was to see the world but also to share the flavours of our national cuisine with the world. I got a job at a famous London restaurant. Eventually, the owner decided to change the managing company of the restaurant, so I could not go on working on my visa. I felt down. Fortunately, Imperial & Legal’s immigration advisors solved the problem.

Li Qian, a 42-year-old
Clients’ names and photos have been changed

Li Qian is an experienced chef. He had been working in one of the well-known restaurants in West London for a year. Then the owner decided to set up a new limited company to manage the business. Since the new company would not have a sponsorship licence, Li Qian would not be able to continue his work there.

Li Qian’s employer consulted Imperial & Legal on the matter. Our immigration advisors suggested that the sponsor should cancel the existing licence and immediately apply for a new one to be able to employ Li Qian again.

With a new sponsorship licence, Li Qian got a new certificate of sponsorship (CoS), and the only thing he had to do was to notify the Home Office that he had changed his place of work.

Our Client

Li Qian is from China. He knows and loves his national cuisine. He started his career as an assistant chef, cutting fruits and washing the dishes. However, he had always wanted to become a true professional, so he took a course on imperial cuisine in Beijing. After completing the course, and with sufficient skills and education, Li Qian decided to relocate to the United Kingdom and share his national dishes with the British people.

The Challenge

To help the employer keep a foreign chef in spite of changes in restaurant management; to get a new sponsorship licence and issue a new certificate of sponsorship.

The Solution

Li Qian’s employer decided to change the managing company of their restaurant. They did not want to lose Li Qian as people came to eat out at their place because of his skills. He contacted Imperial & Legal because our immigration advisors have rich experience in solving such issues. 

According to the UK Immigration Rules, to hire a foreign specialist, a UK employer must have a sponsorship licence. Sponsors can issue certificates of sponsorship that are required to apply for a UK Skilled Worker visa. If a sponsor loses their licence for any reason or closes their company, a foreign specialist on a UK Skilled Worker visa must either find another sponsor or leave the country.

When Li Qian’s sponsor contacted Imperial & Legal, the company was already in the process of shutting down, so our experts suggested the sponsor should apply for a new sponsorship licence and then use it to issue a new certificate of sponsorship for Li Qian. This way, he could continue working for a new limited company. Our immigration advisors also explained to Li Qian that he would not have to leave the UK. He would just have to apply for a new visa after collecting the necessary documents.

Our advisors quickly prepared an application for a new sponsorship licence explaining that the licence was required to re-employ the foreign worker that had already been with the business. The licence was issued within 10 days under the accelerated procedure. Then our experts applied for the so-called indefinite certificate of sponsorship. The document was issued within a day because new sponsors are provided with a number of certificates to start with. Having obtained certificate of sponsorship, Li Qian could apply for a new visa.

Our immigration advisors pointed it out to Li Qian that his previous certificate was issued for four years and would not have allowed him to apply for an Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) without extending his visa. The Immigration Rules say that a foreign specialist can become a UK resident only after five years of staying in the country. Li Qian’s family joined him a year after he had relocated to the UK. It meant that if a new certificate of sponsorship was also given for four years, Li Qian would not be able to apply for ILR with his family. 

Therefore, Imperial & Legal experts told Li Qian about a five-year visa. It has obvious advantages. If a person applies a four-year certificate of sponsorship and visa, they will have to go through the same process again in four years and pay an application fee if they want to become UK residents. However, if Li Qian and his dependants applied for a five-year UK Skilled Worker visa, they would be able to get IRL after the visa expired. 

Our immigration advisors suggested that Li Qian should obtain a five-year certificate of sponsorship and UK Skilled Worker visa (all dependants will also get visas for a five-year period), continue working in the UK till the visa expires and after that, apply for IRL. 

We helped Li Qian’s sponsor issue the required certificate of sponsorship (CoS), prepared and submitted the documents to get five-year UK Skilled Worker visas for the main applicant and his dependants, and calculated accompanying costs and fees.

Li Qian and his family get new visas in a month

24 April
Contact is made with Imperial & Legal
+1 week
Sponsorship licence application prepared
10 working days under accelerated procedure
Visa application documents are prepared
+1 day
Employer gets a sponsorship licence
+1 day
Certificate of sponsorship is obtained
5 working days under accelerated procedure
Visa application is submitted
23 May
Li Qian get UK Skilled Worker visas


Thanks to Imperial & Legal coordinated efforts, Li Qian got his five-year UK Skilled Worker visa. He can now continue working in the same restaurant as a professional chef, and his family can legally stay in the UK with him.

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