There is a repeating trend that seems to take place after South Africans visit family in the UK. The UK based family members tend to sell the idea of UK based life (especially when SA hardship reveals itself).

To help address this notion of UK based sponsorship, we have created this page to help clarify how the UK visa system operates.

We get this query daily and relate to family wanting the best for one another.

The reality is that it is not easy and this content will hopefully clarify why.


The South African in South Africa is hereafter referred to as “applicant”.

If the applicant has a UK born relative or is in a married like relationship with an EU passport holder, they can qualify to work in the UK independently.

If however the applicant does not have birth or marriage ties to the UK, they need to qualify for the Tier 2 (General) visa and get UK employer sponsorship.

What naturally happens in this discussion is that the applicant then questions “what if my family offered me a job?“. This is the next logical question that applicants ask.

To answer the question of “my family in the UK is willing to offer me a job“, we need to explain how the visa system operates.


UK employers need to have registered companies in the UK (ie. The owner of a company needs to comply with UK tax system and register their business with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)).

This will further implicate the prospective employer (especially in cases where the applicants family wishes to offer a job), the family member will need to not only pay a fixed salary but they will also have to pay tax on the salary. This hopefully reveals that it is not a simple transaction where the family member draws up an employment contract.

The next common hurdle in the case is that the applicants family member (with registered UK company) has to apply for a license with the Department of UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) to be able to employ non-EU nationals. This license is known as the Tier 2 license.

Here is a look at the current registered UK companies with Tier 2 licenses.

So, at this stage, the applicants family member in the UK has a UK registered business and a Tier 2 license (that costs £2000 per year just to have).

The Tier 2 license simply means that the registered UK company is held legally accountable for the applicants compliance of UK immigration requirements. Therefore, if the applicant was ever to breach their visa conditions, the UK registered company can be fined (for not honouring the visa requirements).

Continuing though, the UK family member, with UK registered UK company, that holds a valid Tier 2 license, has to conduct a Resident Labour Market Test. This is simply a test to show that no-one in the UK is available to apply for the specific position. Therefore, the family member’s UK company has to advertise the applicants position for 3 weeks (locally in the UK) to complete the Resident Labour Market Test.

Once the Resident Labour Market Test is complete, the family member can request a unique certificate for the position they want to offer the applicant. It is formally known as a “Tier 2 (General) Certificate of Sponsorship”.


What is important to note though, is the minimum salary that the family member has to offer is £20 800 per year.

That concludes the biggest administration hurdles in this case. If the applicant can answer yes to the following questions (all of them), they can consider this approach feasible:

i) Does the family member have a UK registered company with HMRC?
ii) Does the family member have a registered Tier 2 license with UKVI?
iii) Is the family member willing and able to offer a fixed salary of £20 800 per year?
iv) Is the family member willing to offer Tier 2 sponsorship?

If the answers to the questions are all “yes”, we can definitely further assist in this case and encourage eligible applicants to contact us.

We have also put together content for applicants that family members are not prepared to offer employment sponsorship but that have said that they can help secure Tier 2 sponsorship – we have compiled content to help clarify how to get a UK job offer and once the applicant has received a UK job offer, what to do next.

As you can see, this is not easy or straight forward. If you would like further assistance, please be encouraged to get in contact:


To help, you can try our travel needs assessment form below: