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5 min read

What is Sponsorship for Employment? A Guide to Work Visas

What is Sponsorship for Employment

Key points 

  • Work visas require an employer to sponsor the applicant for the visa in most cases.
  • An employer can generally only sponsor a visa where there is a clear need for an overseas employee to fulfill that particular role.
  • Global Employers of Record (Global EORs) and other international employment organizations may be able to help with work visa sponsorship. 

What is the definition of sponsorship for employment?

Sponsorship for employment refers to the process of an employer sponsoring an employee or prospective employee for a work visa to enter and work in a foreign country.

In the context of the United States, sponsorship typically means that an employer must petition the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on behalf of the employee, demonstrate that the employee has the necessary qualifications and skills for the job and that no qualified U.S. worker is available to fill the position.

The employer acts as the sponsor, and is responsible for the application fee, and for ensuring that the employee has the required documentation and meets the qualifications for the specific visa category. Employers are also responsible for ensuring that the employee’s stay in the U.S. is legal and that the employee is complying with the terms of their visa.

Sponsorship for work visas can be a challenging and time-consuming process, and employers need to be aware of the different types of visas that are available and the qualifications and requirements for each. Employers should also be familiar with the laws and regulations related to immigration and work visas, and seek guidance from legal experts if needed.

Do all work visas require sponsors?

Not every work visa requires sponsorship. Some work visas, such as the H-1B and L-1 in the United States, require sponsorship by an employer. However the E-1 (treaty trader) and E-2 (treaty investor) visas, for example, do not require sponsorship by an employer. These visas are available to individuals who are citizens of countries that have a treaty of trade or commerce with the United States, and who will be working in the United States in a business that is engaged in substantial trade or investment with the United States.

Another type of work visa that does not require sponsorship is the O-1 visa, it is for individuals who possess extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or who have a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and have been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements.

Additionally, US self-employment visas such as E-2 treaty investor, E-1 treaty trader, L-1A intracompany transferee manager or executive, and EB-1C multinational executive or manager do not require sponsorship.

It’s important to note that some types of visa may not require sponsorship, but still require a petition to be filed with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the individual may need to go through a qualification and application process. It’s always best to check the specific requirements and rules for each type of visa before applying.

Outside the US, there are also visa types that do not require sponsorship. For example, the Spain remote work visa and Estonia digital nomad visa require that an individual has either foreign employment or freelancing income, but do not require sponsorship from a Spanish or Estonian company. 

What is the best way to find a sponsor for a work visa?

Finding a sponsor for a work visa can be a challenging process, but several strategies can increase your chances of finding a sponsor:

  1. Networking — this is one of the most effective ways to find a sponsor for a work visa. Attend job fairs, industry events, and networking events in your field to meet potential employers and learn about job opportunities.
  2. Online job search — use online job search engines and job boards, such as LinkedIn, Indeed, and Glassdoor, to search for job openings in your field. These resources can also help you to identify potential employers who are open to overseas talent. 
  3. Contact recruitment agencies — recruitment agencies may be able to help you to find job opportunities with companies that sponsor work visas. They may also have a database of job openings and employers that sponsor work visas and can help you prepare your resume and application materials
  4. Reach out to companies directly — research companies that are in your field of expertise and that have a presence in the United States, and reach out to them directly to inquire about job openings and sponsorship opportunities.
  5. Consult with immigration lawyers — immigration lawyers can provide valuable guidance and advice on the work visa application process, and can help you to identify potential employers and navigate the legal requirements of the sponsorship process.

It’s important to note that finding a sponsor for a work visa can take time, and it may require persistence and determination. Keep in mind that some companies may not be open to sponsoring employees for work visas, so it’s important to be flexible and to consider alternative options if needed.

Employee Sponsorship in the US — A Lawyer's Take

Sponsorship for Employment — Your Next Steps

Depending on where you are hiring or thinking of working, you will likely need to take one or more of the following steps: 

  • Seek professional advice. Whether a potential employee or a company is thinking about hiring and sponsoring someone through a work visa, it is worth seeking professional advice to ensure that you have the right work visa in mind. 
  • Consult with an immigration law firm. Where your company is based in the country that you are seeking a work visa for, an immigration law firm may be appropriate.
  • Leverage a Global EOR. If you are not directly based in that country in which you wish to hire, you might consider whether a global Employer of Record can help you with this service. 


Not all work visas require sponsorship. For example, in the United States there is no requirement for sponsorship for the EB-1, O-1, and EB-5 visas. In other countries, there are digital nomad visas and freelancer visas that do not require sponsorship. 

There is a lot of confusion surrounding the term "co-employer," and whether or not a PEO can be classified as such. To clear things up, a co-employer is defined as an entity that shares responsibility for the employment of another individual. In most cases, this means that the co-employer has the ability to hire, fire, and set wages for the employee in question.

With that said, there are a few different ways that a PEO can be classified as a co-employer. For example, if the PEO provides workers' compensation insurance for the employees of its clients, then it would be considered a co-employer under federal law. Similarly, if the PEO acts as an agent for its clients when it comes to payroll or human resources, then it would also be considered a co-employer.

However, it's important to note that not all PEOs will be classified as co-employers. In order to make this determination, you'll need to look at the specific arrangement that you have with your PEO.

Reece is RemotePad’s finance and accounting specialist. Reece is the go-to contributor when RemotePad advises on the financial implications of remote work and hiring employees, locally and internationally. Based in the southern New Zealand city of Dunedin, Reece has a Bachelor of Commerce degree, majoring in Accounting, from the University of Otago.