Business Immigration

Making complex rules easy

If you’re looking to recruit talent from inside or outside the UK, you must check that the ideal candidate has a right to work in the UK, or whether a visa is needed.

Understanding how to employ people in the UK is often overlooked and businesses can risk losing access to the skills they need to make their business succeed. There are also serious penalties for businesses who don’t follow the immigration rules and don’t give “right to work” the attention it deserves.

We can help you, on site or remotely from our offices in Cardiff and London, to navigate these complex processes and rules. We’ll make sure that you understand your legal obligations, and that you meet them.

While we specialise in business immigration in the UK, we know that our clients often need help with immigration requirements overseas. We are part of several international networks of lawyers across the world, including Consulegis , GBL Alliance and ILPA and we can connect you with immigration specialists in the countries you need advice in.

Right to work checks

All UK employers have a responsibility to prevent illegal working. This is done by carrying out right to work checks before employing someone (and during employment where appropriate).

Not carrying out the correct check can bring serious consequences. If you do not conduct a check properly, and one or several of your employees are working in the UK illegally, you could face a fine of up to £20,000 per illegal worker. If you knew the employee was an illegal worker, or should have known, you could also face up to 5 years in prison.

The process of carrying out fully compliant right to work checks can seem overwhelming. This is understandable as there are different types of checks that must be carried out depending on the individual’s immigration status.

We can help by:

  • explaining what type of check to carry out and when
  • helping you understand how to carry out a fully compliant right to work check, including which documents to check, how to check them and how to store the results
  • advising and training your employees so they know how to conduct correct right to work checks
  • Carrying out a right to work audit to spot potential issues and how to deal with them


Often employees have their own right to work in the UK, either because they are a UK citizen or ‘settled person’ or they might have status under the EU Settlement Scheme. If not, you might be able to sponsor them to work in the UK.

There are many different types of sponsorship. We’ll help you understand which route is the best fit for your business and the person you want to sponsor.

All sponsored routes have eligibility criteria and sponsorship comes with its own set of compliance obligations. If your business doesn’t meet those obligations, the Home Office can revoke your sponsor licence. This would mean that your business could no longer employ sponsored workers and it would lose valuable talent. We’ll make sure that doesn’t happen.

We can help you:

  • understand which sponsored route is right for you
  • understand if a vacancy is eligible for sponsorship
  • understand if your business is eligible to become a sponsor
  • apply for a sponsor licence
  • assign certificates of sponsorship
  • comply with your sponsor compliance obligations

Reporting obligations for sponsors

As a sponsor, you must update the Home Office when changes occur to your business.  Most of these are straightforward and easy to identify but changes to a sponsor’s corporate structure often go unreported. We can help you understand your reporting duties where there is:

  • a transfer under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 involving sponsored workers
  • a merger or acquisition of your sponsor business, including share sale and asset purchases
  • other changes of ownership of your sponsor business

We work closely with our Tier 1 ranked corporate team to ensure a seamless, efficient and cost effective service when advising on the impact changes to your corporate structure can have on workers you sponsor from outside the UK.

Record keeping obligations for sponsors

Being a sponsor comes with responsibility. A large part of that is record keeping – about your business and the employees that you sponsor.

This can include keeping copies of the documents you used to apply for a sponsor licence, through to a record of each sponsored worker’s pay, their personal contact details and how they were recruited into the role.

We’ll help you understand what records you must keep as a sponsor and how to store them, to make sure you stay on top of these obligations.

Conducting an immigration audit

The Home Office can carry out compliance visits at any time – with or without warning – and they will visit most sponsors at some stage during the lifetime of their licence. That’s why, as a sponsor licence holder, it is important that you are fully aware of what your sponsor compliance obligations are and that your records and processes are up to date.

By conducting an audit of your business, we’ll make sure you are compliant with the duties and responsibilities that come with being a sponsor.

This includes:

  • Offering guidance on how to adequately prepare for our audit
  • Conducting a mock audit, similar to one you would face from the Home Office
  • Reviewing your HR processes and employee records on the day to make sure they are appropriate
  • Speaking to your key personnel and assess whether they understand their compliance obligations
  • Speaking to your sponsored employees to make sure the role they are performing matches your records
  • Providing a full report after the audit, detailing risk areas and action points

Visiting the UK for business

We understand that people need to visit the UK for business trips. This might be because their overseas employer needs them to visit their UK partners for meetings, or because the company is setting up a subsidiary in the UK.

But the rules around what business visitors can and cannot do in the UK can be tricky to understand.  Falling foul of the immigration rules for business visitors can have severe consequences. If a business visitor strays outside the permitted activities of a business visitor and works in the UK without immigration permission, they could be an illegal worker.

We can:

  • Help UK businesses understand what visitors can and cannot do in the UK when on a business trip
  • Explain the do’s and don’t’s for business trips to the UK
  • Help UK businesses prepare documents supporting a visitor’s business trip to the UK
  • Explain the alternative options if the visitor route is not an option

Other immigration services for businesses

Outside the right to work and sponsorship processes, we can also help businesses understand:

  • how and when they can employ students and the additional right to work checking processes they must follow
  • how to bring interns or work experience students to the UK
  • the new range of temporary work routes into the UK and understand whether they can be used by your business to bring labour into the UK
  • the options for bringing overseas nationals to the UK to perform a contract for your UK business
  • what to look out for in immigration due diligence on corporate transactions
  • the immigration implications of international remote working and global mobility

What is Business Immigration? | Right to work checks, Sponsorship, New UK immigration routes

0:00 — What is business immigration?
01:07 — How has business immigration changed in recent years?
02:26 — How can we help clients with their business immigration needs?
03:44 — What other business activities are affected by immigration law?

Capital Law go above and beyond to support my team on a regular basis. They are always on-hand to pick up ad hoc requests and meet our deadlines even if they are only a few hours long – nothing is too big of an ask!

The Legal 500

Capital Law Limited excels at handling business immigration matters for standalone clients, as well as on behalf of the firm's broader corporate client base. The team has a particular specialism advising employers on becoming and retaining sponsor status, as well as on tiers 1 and 2 of the points-based system.

The Legal 500