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Are you currently sponsored in the UK as a Skilled Worker and interested in becoming a shareholder or director of a company?

Posted by: Gherson Immigration

Imagine the following scenario: you are being sponsored as a Tier 2 (General) migrant or a Skilled Worker. You are tired of earning a 9-5 salary. Robert Kiyosaki tells you that you need to make money work for you. Perhaps you want to buy shares in your sponsoring company, take part in your friend’s lucrative new business venture, or maybe you want to set up your own business part-time. You want to know if you are allowed to own shares in your sponsoring company or any other company, and serve as a director under your current visa conditions. Here is what you need to know.


1) Ownership of shares in your sponsoring company

Prior to 1 December 2020, if you held leave as a Tier 2 (General) migrant, you could not hold more than 10% of the shares in your sponsoring company unless you were a High Earner (i.e. you were earning a gross salary of more than £159,600 per year). 

However, under the new Skilled Worker rules that were introduced as of 1 December 2020, there are no restrictions on the number of shares an applicant can hold in a sponsoring company. You should, however, be aware of the ‘genuineness’ requirements – one of which is that the role must not have been created mainly so that the applicant could apply for a visa. If you have a significant shareholding within the business, and therefore are able to control or influence the company’s decisions with respect to your role, this may affect the Home Office’s assessment of the genuineness of your role within the company.  


2) Ownership of shares in companies other than your employer/sponsor

Both Tier 2 (General) migrants and Skilled Workers are allowed to own shares in other companies. 


3) Serving as a director in another company

This is an area of legal uncertainty. Whether this is permitted will depend on whether serving as a director for another company would be regarded as “supplementary employment”.


In addition to the job specified on the certificate of sponsorship (CoS), a Skilled Worker / Tier 2 (General) migrant’s conditions of stay allow them to do extra work if it is:

• in either a job in Appendix Shortage Occupation List or a job in the same occupation code as the job for which the CoS was assigned for; 

• no more than 20 hours a week;

• outside the working hours covered by the CoS. 


If the extra work meets the above requirements, the applicant does not need to inform the Home Office before taking on that extra work. The applicant must continue to work in the job for which they are sponsored during this time and should continuously ensure that they check the rules on ‘supplementary employment’ in force at any given time. 

Remember, if you undertake additional employment that does not meet the supplementary employment criteria and you have not been granted permission to allow you to take up such employment, you may be in breach of your conditions of stay, which may seriously impact your immigration status in the UK. 

In the event that you would like us to review your individual circumstances, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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 don’t 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.

©Gherson 2021

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