Assessing – Should the role be sponsored by the Client or a Supplier?

Aside from the questions of whether a role is senior enough for Tier 2 visa sponsorship, and whether there are any suitable locals, the most common question asked by companies and by expats is: ‘Who has to do the sponsorship?’

It is always OK for a company that needs a worker for ‘internal’ work (ie work not on client assignments) to sponsor and employ the expat (for a properly paid & suitably senior role, where there are no suitable locals).  It is sometimes OK for the expat to be sponsored and employed by a supplier.

Roles that are NOT suitable for Supplier Sponsorship:

  • Ongoing Routine roles: Roles to work within & carry out ‘Business As Usual’ processes.  This includes any process (eg Credit Control, office management) that the business will need to be carried out indefinitely: if the role is outsourced, when the contract comes to an end, the role will still have to continue, either by being taken ‘in house’, or by the issuing of another outsourcing contract (either to the old supplier or a new one)
  • Roles where the expat worker will be subject to day to day direction and control by the client: where it is the client that allocates duties to, & sets objectives for the expat. 
  • Roles where the expat will be an ‘agency worker’ working for a client
  • Junior roles where the supplier does not have a more senior employee onsite to manage the junior expat.   

If a role is not suitable for supplier sponsorship, the employment and sponsorship must be by the client company.  If that company does not yet have a sponsor licence see 

If that company already has a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence, see

Roles that may be suitable for Supplier Sponsorship:

  • Roles that are not ongoing because they are linked to process / systems improvement, whether feature enhancements, version upgrades, or entirely new systems/processes.
  • Roles for experienced senior staff who are capable of autonomous delivery day to day.
  • Roles within multi-person supplier teams onsite at a Client
  • Roles based at the Supplier’s own offices.

 If you think that a role may be suitable for Supplier Sponsorship, see