In short, it is possible to be self-employed under the Skilled Worker visa route in limited circumstances.
You may be aware that as a Skilled Worker you are able to take on supplementary employment/additional work, which can either be in an employed, or self-employed capacity.
Supplementary work is permitted, provided it is for no more than 20 hours a week, outside of the hours that you are required to work for your main sponsor, and the work is related to the same occupation code and the same level as your main job, or is included in the shortage occupations list.
However, you may not know that, in certain situations, it is possible to work for your main Skilled Worker sponsor in a self-employed capacity.
Self-employment under the Skilled Worker route
It is beneficial to know that the sponsor guidance specifically uses the word ‘worker’ rather than ‘employee’, as there is an understanding that a variety of different work relationships can exist under the sponsorship system in addition to the ‘employer-employee’ relationship.
It is noted in the sponsor guidance that:
“If the worker is self-employed, there must be a genuine contract for employment or services between the sponsor and the worker. This contract must show:
- the names and signatures of all involved (which must include the sponsor and the worker)
- the start and end dates of the contract
- details of the job, or piece of work, the worker has been contracted to do
- how much the worker will be paid.”
For you to be considered “self-employed” under the Skilled Worker visa route, you must have a valid contract for services/employment between you and the sponsor.
This means that, if a company sponsors you and provides you with a clear contract outlining the task you have been contracted to complete with them, you can work as a self-employed individual while holding a Skilled Worker visa.
It is of course essential to show that the job is genuine, in other words, that it has not been created mainly so that you can apply for a Skilled Worker visa.
Subject to meeting all the Skilled Worker requirements, self-employment as a Skilled Worker might be permitted by the Home Office.
As a self-employed individual, you will be paying your taxes through a self-assessment tax return (not through PAYE). However, your sponsor still has the usual responsibility to ensure that you receive at least £26,200 per year, or the minimum salary required for your job code, whichever is higher.
In our experience, a self-employed arrangement is particularly beneficial to roles such as dentists, barristers, private tutors, entertainers and artists, who are self-employed due to the nature of their profession.
How Gherson can assist
Gherson’s Immigration Team are highly experienced in advising on UK visa matters. If you have any questions arising from this blog, please do not hesitate to contact us for advice, send us an e-mail, or, alternatively, follow us on X, Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn to stay-up-to-date.
The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please do not hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.