‘Will an employer sponsor my visa to work in UK Book Publishing’ is a question frequently asked by International students from International countries. Since 2020 this includes those from EU/EEA countries who do not already have settled status.
The answer is currently that it is highly unlikely you will get sponsorship, even though a number of publishers appear on a list of companies which are authorised to apply for sponsorship visas.
Previously there was a resident labour market test which required the employer to advertise the job widely and receive no suitable applicants. Although this test no longer exists, there are still some very stringent and costly rules for employers to follow. As a result publishers usually request all applicants for roles to already have the right to work in the UK.
Most employers are fully aware of how difficult it is to obtain visa sponsorship for UK book publishing. We spoke to a number of HR departments as well as members of the IPG. Everyone told us the same thing: that they cannot get sponsorship for entry level, executive or mid-level publishing roles. There may be a chance of sponsorship for someone in a senior role, but for the big companies, this is strictly limited in number and is likely to be an inter-company transfer for someone of Director level.
This must be very painful for you to read; you want to stay in the UK and we’d love to have you. But the reality is there are more people wanting to work in book publishing than there are jobs, and the UK Government states those jobs have to be filled by those with an automatic right of residency.
You’ll also need to be earning above the recommended salary threshold, and as we know, pay in publishing is not great.
What can you do instead?
The best thing you can do is to return to your host country and build up your career there.
If you find yourself working for a publisher who has a UK office, you might be able to get an inter-company transfer
in a few years time, but there are no guarantees.
If you build up your career with a publisher that does not have UK office, it may be that in a few years time, the role you seek could meet the requirements of UK Visa Sponsorship’. Alternatively, you could meet the criteria of ‘exceptional talent‘ and be able to move to the UK on a work Visa, although these are currently restricted in number to 500.
If you want to set up a business here, and have at least £50,000 investment in cash, then you may be able to apply for an entrepreneurial visa.
Or you can pray and hope that the UK Government changes its criteria for who can work here or decides that book publishing is as essential an occupation as nursing.