Skilled Workers and Supplementary Employment

Skilled Workers and Supplementary Employment is one of the issues that Breytenbachs often receive questions about. Skilled workers often wonder whether they can take up supplementary employment or do charity work. Others wish to further their studies while they have access to some of the best educational institutions in the world.

Due to the many misconceptions about the rules on supplementary employment and other issues, Breytenbachs have compiled some guidelines.

However, migrant workers should always ensure that they do not breach their conditions of stay. If you are unsure whether you can take up some supplementary employment or charity work, confirm with your Breytenbachs consultant. We are always happy to assist.

Skilled Workers and Supplementary Employment

Normally, migrant workers with permission to work in the Skilled Visa category can only work for their UK employer, the sponsor. The migrant worker can also only do the work specified in the Certificate of Sponsorship.

However, it is possible to take up supplementary employment. But you have to continue to your employment for which the Home Office assigned your Certificate of Sponsorship.

For the additional employment to qualify as supplementary employment, it has to meet the following criteria:

  • It must be in the same profession and same professional level as the work described in the Certificate of Sponsorship OR
  • The supplementary work must be for a job on the Shortage Occupation List.
  • The work may not be for more than 20 hours per week, and
  • It must take place outside the normal working hours of the sponsored job for which you have received a Certificate of Sponsorship.

The employer who provides the supplementary employment does not need to be a licensed sponsor. The employee also does not need to inform the Home Office about the supplementary work. However, the employee has to make sure that the work fulfils the criteria of supplementary work.

If it does not fulfil the criteria of supplementary employment, you will be in breach of your conditions of stay. The Home Office does advise that the employee informs the employer that the work is supplementary. The employer can then make the necessary checks recommended for employers.

Secondary Employment

Skilled workers can take up a second job for which they require a Certificate of Sponsorship. This employment is secondary employment.

The skilled worker must first use their Certificate of Sponsorship in a successful visa application and start their first employment before receiving a second Certificate of Sponsorship.

As the secondary employment requires another Certificate of Sponsorship from a licensed sponsor and other technicalities, we highly recommend that you speak to a Breytenbachs consultant for assistance.

Skilled Workers and Voluntary or Charity Work

Skilled workers in the UK can undertake voluntary work in addition to their sponsored work. Voluntary work can include volunteering without contractual obligation for a charitable organisation.

It is crucial that the skilled worker may not receive any remuneration or payment for the voluntary work. Otherwise, they will be in breach of their conditions of stay.

Fortunately, the charitable organisation may reimburse the employee/skilled worker for reasonable expenses.

Studying in the UK as a Skilled Worker

Skilled Workers can undertake courses of study if they wish to do so. However, the studies may not affect your ability to carry out your normal Skilled worker visa work. The studies can be undertaken anywhere and do not have to be with a licensed Student sponsor. There is also no limit on the number of hours you can study. Neither on the course level you wish to undertake.

However, check with your Breytenbachs consultant that you meet the ATAS condition if you undertake a course of study or research at the postgraduate level or above.

How Breytenbachs can help you

Breytenbachs have a dedicated and highly qualified team dealing specifically with Skilled Worker Visas. If you have any questions on supplementary employment or any other conditions of stay, please feel free to contact us. We assist both the employee and employer with the Skilled Worker visa application, registration as a licensed employer and more.


Please note that the information in this article does not constitute professional advice. It is provided for general information purposes without any warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied.

Please contact us today for further information or applications.

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