Various IT jobs were recently added to the Tier 2 Shortage Occupation list. However, a set of additional requirements for sponsoring organisations is included on Page 14.

My question revolves around this specific point:

The sponsor must:

(a) have between 20 and 250 employees (or have fewer than 20 employees and have included the letter from UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) confirming that UKTI have been working with the company and support the application in relation to the company’s trade or investment activity); [...]

Large and Small Sponsors

Does this mean that a small organisation (less than 20 people) or a large organisation (more than 250 people) cannot sponsor people in these roles at all? (I'm not sure how this would be tenable for a large organisation, unless the intent of the rule is to try and support small business.)

Or does this just mean that the sponsor will have to advertise the job, and the applicant will not get the full benefit of filling a "shortage occupation"?

1 Answer 1


Yes, fewer than 250 employees is the official mark for a SME (Small or Medium Enterprise), and there are often policies aimed at assisting this end of the market. Points b and c on that document are also aimed at stopping larger businesses getting around this by creating smaller offshoot companies.

A job does not have to be on the Shortage Occupation List in order to sponsor a Tier 2 visa; it just means that the company would have to perform a Resident Labour Market Test (e.g. advertise the job within the UK first).

So I can't see anything that would stop a larger company sponsoring in these categories, it's just that the situation from their point of view would be the same as before the occupations were added to the shortage list, whereas from a SME's point of view the process has just been made a little easier.

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